EXPO MILANO 2015: How to feed the planet? By Giving Women a Voice!

Expo Milano 2015, which opened on May 1st, addresses nutrition and sustainability by placing female culture at the heart of a Universal Exposition through the ‘WE–Women for Expo Project’. This project invites women to speak about nurturing the body, nurturing freedom and intelligence, encouraging them to share their "recipe for life". DiscovHER rounded up their most striking statements!

Want to solve world hunger? Educate women.

Marion Nestle, nutritional science professor hailed the #2 most powerful foodie in America:

We know what we have to do to solve world hunger, and one of the main things is to educate women. And this is not something that you just do. These are political problems. There are countries where the education of women is a cause for death. So to say that you have a solution that is short of a political solution does not make much sense. You have to do it from within and take very small steps. Changing cultures is extremely difficult.

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is also Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Marion is the author of five prize-winning books on food politics and nutrition and the recipient of many awards. Follow her on Twitter.

Self-confidence is the answer!

Monica Belltrametti, astrophysicist and vice-president of Xerox Research Centre Europe:

Despite the solid academic credentials and experience of many of the women I meet and interview they still lack self-confidence compared to their male counterparts. As a woman who is sensitive to such a fact I do my best not to let it influence my perception of their professional capabilities but many of my peers are unconsciously biased. This is based on the scientific observation that one likes to recruit people whose profiles reflect your own. As the academic and scientific world was primarily developed and shaped by men, women find themselves being evaluated by a system which does not necessarily reflect their aptitudes and, even less so, their values. This needs to change.

Monica Beltrametti has a Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich. She has worked at research organizations in Germany and at NASA.

How to shatter the glass ceiling? Disobey.

Maria Cristina Bombelli, founder and president of Wise Growth, a diversity management organisation:

Female skill, for instance in education, is often based on obedience to authority. Not in a passive way, of course, but in order to obtain the approval needed to progress. And all too often this does not really help build that personal vision of things which is indispensable to becoming a leader. A word of advice to all women comes from a book by Don Milani, well-known to those of my generation, in which he addresses female teachers stating: obedience is not always a virtue.

Maria Cristina Bombelli is a former professor at the University of Milan Bicocca, and a former teacher at the School of Business Administration at Bocconi University. 

Give women farmers, scientists, and researchers a voice!

Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank and a ‘We-Women for Expo’  Ambassador:

We need to make the invisible sisterhood of women farmers, scientists, and researchers more visible by highlighting their stories and giving them a voice to talk about the obstacles they face and the solutions they’re developing".According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, if women farmers had the same access to resources - land, credit, education, extension services - these workers could increase food production by 20 to 30 percent and lift as many as 150 million people out of hunger and food insecurity.

Danielle Nierenberg has an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Follow her on Twitter.

Listen to what women have to say

Jody Williams is President of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. She sits on the International Board for WE-Women for Expo.  

Contrary to what I would have imagined I discovered  that 80 percent of land workers are female. It is absolutely vital, for the sake of global safety, that women’s voices on the themes of food and food safety are listened to.

An American citizen, Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her campaign to ban landmines. At that time, she became the 10th woman - and third American woman - in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize. Follow her on Twitter

WE-Women for Expo is an Expo Milano 2015 project in partnership with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Arnoldo and Alberto Mondadori Foundation. The project will continue to reflect on women’s role in shaping the future of food production until the end of the Exposition, on Oct. 31st 2015.  

Follow all the news and events of We – Women for Expo at #women4expo 
#Expo2015, and share your feedback with @4womeninscience! 

For Women in Science

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