Copa’s Women’s Committee releases manifesto

Copa’s Women’s Committee held a major round table debate in European Parliament this week hosted by MEP Mariya Gabriel and released a manifesto underlining the vital role women play on farms and called for measures to ensure they have a viable future.

Newly re-relected Chairwoman Willemien Koning-Hoeve from the Dutch Farm Organisation (LTO) said “We need to empower more women to manage farms. They are the back-bone of rural areas, playing an innovative role in agri-tourism, on-farm diversification on top of the farm’s production role. Innovation will become all the more crucial for rural areas in the years to come, as we will have to face the dual challenge of population growth, the impact of climate change, as well as the need to maintain EU standards and improved quality. It is vital to create living conditions in rural areas that correspond to those in urban areas, whilst reflecting the realities of the countryside. Copa Women Committee therefore calls for measures to keep rural areas alive and increase women entrepreneurship and opportunities in agriculture. Education and training needs to be improved as well as access to child care facilities.

In particular, Copas Womens Committee urges the European Commission, members of European Parliament and the national authorities to work on the following measures with will directly and indirectly foster the status and position of women who are involved in farming:

> Support projects and provide advice on creating innovative agricultural activities in rural areas.

> Promote the concept of multi-functionality, which refers to extra activities developed on or outside of the farm, in addition to the farm’s production role.

> Encourage women’s entrepreneurial skills and initiatives, in particular through entrepreneurial networks.

> Secure social protection measures (including the recognition of the status of assisting spouse, and the efforts put in by family members and parents).

> Develop information databases and networks at Members State level in order to register and raise awareness about the economic and social situation of women in rural areas.

> Improving the quality and accessibility of infrastructure, facilities and services for everyday life in rural areas like child care facilities, internet access.

Ms Willemien Koning-Hoeve will be supported by two new Vice-Chairpersons Margit Batthyany-Schmidt from the Hungaran Agriculture Chambers (HCA) and Marianne Streel from the Wallonian Farm Organisation (FWA).

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