Podcast: Emancipate women in agri, says W. Cape official

This week’s podcast features (from left) Francois van de Vyver, Thusoetsile Lobaleng, Carolien Sampson, Nthakheni Netshirembe, Nobantu Radebe, and Hlami Ngwenya. Photos: Supplied/Food For Mzansi.

Dr Hlami Ngwenya, the new chief director for agricultural producer services and development at the Western Cape department of agriculture, says that more needs to be done to advance women in the country, and in farming in particular. She is a guest on the Farmer’s Inside Track agriculture podcast this week. 

Ngwenya says that, while women have contributed massively to the liberation of South Africa, women are still not free.  

“Closing gender gaps in the agri space is a very crucial thing. Evidence shows that there are a number of women who are working in the agri space. However, the majority of them are working as labourers. What we need is to bring a lot of women to occupy good quality positions within the sector.” 

Ngwenya says that, when it comes to advancing women in agriculture, all policies look at women’s empowerment and not enough focus is placed on actually “freeing” women.  

“While women’s empowerment policies are great, the limitation there is only to focus on empowerment – which is the element of giving power and giving space – without looking at the emancipation part of it. [Emancipation] brings about the element of building necessary capacities and skills that enable women to utilise the power and the space that has been bestowed on them.” 

For women to be emancipated, Ngwenya explains, all resources need to be directed towards identifying gaps and developing women’s capacities. This includes addressing gender-specific challenges rigorously and systemically. Women need to be given access to resources, including digital, and they need to be equipped with the necessary skills.  

“There is a need to tackle all inherent gender biases that exist in our economic systems head-on. It should go beyond just the tick-box exercise; [it should] really create quality and quantity jobs for women in the sector.” 

ALSO READ: WC agri service delivery in capable new hands

Other farmers’ podcast highlights: 

The best agriculture news podcast on the planet also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week: 

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