CottonConnect empowers women farmers to fight climate change.

CottonConnect, a leading organization driving responsible sourcing and resilient supply chain in the textile industry, is empowering women to tackle climate change through training programmes in agri techniques to improve productivity and sustainability of their farms, the organization’s Global Director of Values, Principles, and Governance Geetanjali Solanki has said. “CottonConnect’s initiatives, such as Women in Cotton programme, have engaged over 300,000 (as of 2023) women in sustainable agri-skills, literacy, numeracy, rights, and healthcare,” she said in an email interaction with businessline.

CottonConnect, which works with organizations such as Primark and SEWA, has launched specific outreach programmes geared towards women farmers, especially in areas where women are less likely to be involved. “Our Women Climate Change Ambassadors’ Programme is a good example, empowering women farmers as leaders in climate resilience” 

Recognising contribution

Solanki said ensuring equal opportunities, including access to resources and training, is imperative, along with fostering an environment where the community recognises women’s contributions to the overall advancement and sustainability of cotton farming communities.

“Another key initiative is the Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme, a partnership between Primark, RUDI and CottonConnect, now in its tenth year, which is successfully providing training on sustainable agricultural practices that increase women’s economic empowerment and self-reliance,” the ConnectConnect official said. Stating that women farmers can play a decisive role in improving farms’ productivity if they receive training, she said research revealed the lack of recognition for women’s work in cotton farming and, in line with wider gender inequalities, that they are less likely to be part of decision-making or to own land.

“They lack access to education and skills training, which further perpetuates their marginalization,” she said, adding that CottonConnect is keen to facilitate dialogue, foster innovative ideas, and encourage collaborations among diverse women stakeholders to drive sustainable policies and innovations for a more inclusive and sustainable future. “We brought together a group of female experts to discuss challenges facing women in agriculture, at the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) – India and Sustainability Standards Conference late last year. We co-hosted a plenary panel discussion to raise awareness of how to empower women, bridge the gender gap, and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

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