Women in Dairy Knowledge Hub​
For generations, the dairy sector has contributed to the empowerment of women
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Women in Dairy: Essential for Gender Equality

Gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment are essential to achieving all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as ensuring food systems that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. 

IDF’s contributions to SDG5 – gender equality- focuses on how the dairy sector is helping and can improve the empowerment of women to achieve broad social benefits. The contribution of the global dairy sectors to girls and women is well documented and spans across multiple domains: 

• Milk and dairy foods improve nutrition of girls and women at different stages of their life.

• Milk production support the livelihood of millions of women and their families as we as create socio-economic value for rural communities.

• Dairy farming increases/diversify family incomes, especially in developing countries.

• Increase the understanding of food choice and the necessity of food availability through educational efforts, such as school milk programmes.

The global dairy sector is strongly committed in helping achieve the 2030 agenda through the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the benefits of people and the planet and is therefore viewing its contribution to SDG5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

In 2022 IDF set up a Task Force on Women in Dairy with the goal to:

  • Fill the gap in facts and stories on the place of women in all aspect of the dairy value chain and on the contribution of dairy on women empowerment.
  • Showcase that IDF is a source of inspiration and role models for the contribution of women in science, agriculture, and food sector.
  • Further promote that IDF offers a wide and rich worldwide network to support and develop women’s expertise and careers.

Get involved

The IDF Women in Dairy initiative is dynamic and diverse. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts, stories and testimonials with us. We look forward to your contributions.

Women in Dairy Spotlights

Women from all over the world share their testimonials and experiences on their journey within the dairy sector.  View the testimonials below.

Work by IDF

Innovation in Women Empowerment

In the second edition of the IDF Dairy Innovation Awards, the new category “Innovation in Women Empowerment” was introduced. The purpose of this new category is to recognise innovative initiatives that promote the growing female leadership in the dairy value chain all over the world.
Read more here.

IDF Reports and Factsheets

The IDF Women in Dairy Report 2023 –  Unlocking Endless Potential (Issue 1):

The first report in this annual series launched on international rural women’s day 2023, is the first of a new annual report series highlighting women’s empowerment in dairy.

This report is a testimony of existing practices around the world to empower women in the dairy sector. Helping them to thrive, take up their place and assist the sector in tackling the challenges in transformative food systems. 

Read the full report here.

Empowering women through good nutrition: The role of dairy foods:

This IDF factsheet, published in March 2023, reviews scientific evidence of women’s dairy-related health and nutrition across the life course, and it outlines some potential roles of women’s empowerment programmes. It also emphasizes the following facts:

  • Women’s nutritional wellbeing should be valued as a fundamental human right.
  • Good nutrition throughout all phases of life and the agency to choose the foods to serve are central to women’s empowerment.
  • Empowering women to make healthy dietary choices, including the intake of dairy, is key to achieving SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and 5 (Gender Equality).

Access the factsheet here

IDF Networking Activities

Women in Dairy Webinar

Annually on International Women’s, IDF organises a webinar with global guest speakers to share their views on how to include women in every part of the value chain. 

Watch the 2024 webinar here

Watch the 2023 webinar here

Women in Dairy Roundtable

After two successful online events in 2022 and 2023 on International Women Day, the Task Force organised its first physical roundtable on Sunday 15 October 2023, the first IDF Roundtable on Women. It was an opportunity to reflect on the role of women in the dairy sector by those who are shaping it and to connect with like-minded peers.

Read more about the roundtable here.

The Women in Dairy Roundtable will be organised on an annual basis.

About reference reports

In the process of elaborating the IDF Women in Dairy Report and the rest of the Women in Dairy deliverables, IDF consults and series of valuable sources. You can access these documents here.

Our aim is for all in the sector to understand the contribution women can bring and the role they play in assisting the sector in achieving the SDGs

Caroline Emond, First Female Director General of IDF

Related reports & publications

IDF provides a permanent source of authoritative scientific and other information on a whole range of topics relevant to the dairy sector.