International Women’s Day (IWD) is globally commemorated every year on 8 March dedicated to the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It is a day of reflection, highlighting critical women’s rights, issues and priorities.
With the 2021 theme of “Break the bias”, POETCom shared videos and statements of how it was breaking biases at community, national, regional and international levels.
Neema Nand, the Building Prosperity for Women Producers, Processors and Women owned Business (BPWP) project shared how POETCom was breaking biases by systematically integrating gender considerations in the POETCom strategy, processes and tools, including data collection. Other ways of breaking the bias, have been the addition of gender equality and social inclusion in the POETCom Strategic Plan 2021–2025, the establishment of a Women’s Chapter as part of the POETCom governance, the mainstreaming of gender in organic policies and practices at national and international level and conducting value chain analysis and interventions with a women’s empowerment lens at country level.
Karen Mapusua, President of IFOAM – Organics International and Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division also celebrated the acceptance of POETCom’s submission to add gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) into IFOAM – Organics International’s Principle of Fairness. Ms Mapusua said: “The 2021 IFOAM General Assembly took an important step with the inclusion of GESI into one of IFOAM – Organics International’s four principles, the Principle of Fairness. This was a milestone in supporting GESI outcomes across the global organic movement and updates the Principle of Fairness to align with current understanding of these issues that are so critical to all organic stakeholders, from farmers to consumers!”
POETCom also participated at a break the bias webinar organised by the Human Rights and Social Development Division of the Pacific Community. The speakers shared insightful learnings from their respective journeys as Pacific women leaders with the overarching theme that breaking biases begins from within – out to our families, communities, offices and such with the overall aim of a fair, equitable and inclusive society that involves both men and women.
POETCom’s newly elected Chair and CEO of the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), Sashi Kiran also shared her journey as a Pacific woman leader in organic agriculture; of how she broke biases and shattered glass ceilings of gender inequality, while also imparting nuggets of wisdom to young aspiring woman leaders making an impact in male-dominated fields of work.
The day ended with the participation of our Gender and Value Chains Adviser, Flavia Ciribello, as a key speaker at a webinar titled “Women in research and extension: Advancing gender equality in innovation.” The webinar aims to inspire and mobilise change to help advance women’s role as innovators in their respective areas of research and extension, to ensure their meaningful and inclusive contribution to the transformation of agri-food systems in the Asia-Pacific region.