By Inside Biz
The Food and Agriculture Organizations’ (FAO) Assistant Representative, Khanyisile Mabuza says women’s rights to inherit their husband’s property continues to be denied in many countries across the world under customary, religious or traditional laws and practices.
The commemoration of United Nations Convention to Combat Diversification (UNCCD) highlights that women are most affected by land insecurity, food insecurity and gender-based violence.
The commemoration, held at the Mavuso Trade Centre in Manzini, was attended by traditional leaders from across the country, CEOs of parastatal agencies, including Eswatini Water and Agriculture Development Enterprise (ESWADE), Eswatini Environmental Authority, and representatives of the United Nations and NGOs. It was jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs and Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development.
In her remarks, FAO Assistant Representative, Khanyisile Mabuza, who represented the UN Resident Coordinator, George Wachira, noted that this year’s theme.
“Her Land. Her Rights: Advancing Gender Equality and Land Restoration Goals”, emphasizes that investing in women’s equal access to land and associated assets is a direct investment in their future and the future of humanity.
She noted that nearly half of the global agricultural workforce is female yet less than 20 percent women own land.
“Women’s rights to inherit their husband’s property continues to be denied in many countries across the world under customary, religious or traditional laws and practices,” she said.
She congratulated Eswatini for reviewing the national gender policy to incorporate climate action.
“In 2023, Eswatini revised the National Gender Policy to ensure that policies and programmes on the environment, natural resource management, disaster management, climate change and energy management are gender sensitive and responsive,” she told the about 100 participants.
The Minister of Agriculture, Jabulani Mabuza urged stakeholders to use the commemoration to ignite progress towards women’s economic empowerment and catalyze broader gender equality in the agricultural transformation.
“Access to land by women, young girls and people living with disabilities is a fundamental right firmly linked to gender equality,” said the Minister. “We all know that women are key enablers of economic independence and decision-making. Women are a key influence in the rebalancing of unequal power relations within homes, communities, and institutions.”
The Minister observed that land is the foundation and a critical resource to build people’s livelihoods.
“Land is instrumental in decision-making and assists us to gain access to credit, and therefore securing land plays an integral role in empowering women in agriculture,” he said.