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International Woman’s Day – A Time to Voice and Celebrate Female Contribution to the European Agri-Food Sector


International Women’s Day is celebrated on Monday the 8th of March, an opportunity to reflect on the many social, economic and political achievements that women have achieved over the years and on how much still needs to be done.

For the ‘Educate to Innovate’s’ project partners CIA and Donne in Campo in Italy it was an opportunity to bring the value of women, promoters of innovation and sustainability back to the center of the discussion on the future of agriculture. In the management of agricultural businesses, over the years women have shown that they have a major role in the quality of agriculture, are mindful to the protection of the territory and the landscape, are capable of fully exploiting the potential of many aspects of agriculture and experimenting with innovative paths. Females are capable of creating new income streams; in Italy females have played a key role in the developing educational and social farms, Agriasili, Agricatering.

Agriculture for women must therefore be supported. Society’s need for genuine, local food produced with practices that respect the environment is on the increase. Such companies run by women are the key to fulfilling this need, in the face of crises, they have proven to be more able to counteract the negative effects during a Pandemic developing resilience actions to serve their societies. With creativity and passion they have been able to combine work in fields with personal services, social inclusion services and the protection of local biodiversity.

According to Unioncamere, agricultural enterprises run by women in Italy are today 207,991, despite the loss of about 2,400 female enterprises in 2020, the agricultural sector therefore remains one of the sectors with the highest rate of feminization (28.28%). The attention of many young women towards the sector is also a fact that encourages us and that pushes us even more to ask that politics support the presence of women in agriculture, not only through adequate financial measures, but also through the strengthening of digital and material infrastructures in the internal areas of the country, where the improvement of social and health services is an essential condition to encourage women’s entrepreneurship.

Women entrepreneurs, more than men, need services: from social and health centers, to kindergartens, schools and maternity services. Only by consolidating these services in rural areas will it be possible to think of reducing gender differences in agriculture as well.

Today, the European Union is investing in the green transition by committing to become the first block of zero climate impact countries by 2050, women are asking to have a leading role in the implementation of ecological transition, starting from what they are already carrying out: from the construction of a sustainable textile supply chain, to the production of plants for the pharmaceutical and herbal industry, to the care and maintenance of the landscape, to the introduction of innovative processes capable of guaranteeing the maintenance of environmental assets .

For all this, women in agriculture need services but also the opportunity to acquire new skills to see essential developments into fruition.

Alessandra Alberti , Women in Campo Toscana

Cia Toscana, in collaboration with Donne in Campo Toscana, organizes, on Friday 12 March, a webinar for the presentation of the data of a European project on female entrepreneurship in the Agri-Food sector. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss problems and opportunities for women in agriculture, at European and national level, and on the tools available to female entrepreneurs.