Earlier this semester, the International Olive Council (IOC) and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Studies (CIHEAM) agreed to join forces once again, this time in order to jointly organise the upcoming celebration of World Olive Day (WOD). This year, WOD will focus on the vital role of women in olive oil. The celebration will take place on Thursday 23 November at the IOC’s headquarters in Madrid.
The CIHEAM, a Mediterranean intergovernmental organisation established in 1962 and a longstanding collaborator of the IOC on a diversity of activities, has made gender equality a core pillar of their work over recent years. Among other important projects, the CIHEAM has released groundbreaking analyses which shed a light on the current situation of women empowerment and gender equality in the Mediterranean region and beyond, such as their “Gender equality in the Mediterranean region” report (CIHEAM, 2022) and their joint publication with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) on “Strengthening the role of women in rural and agricultural areas – Obstacles and opportunities” (CIHEAM, 2018). Indeed, the active involvement of women is crucial in safeguarding food security, accounting for 43% of the worldwide agricultural workforce (CIHEAM, 2022). Unfortunately, however, the fundamental role of women is to this day often overlooked.
It is with this in mind that both the IOC and CIHEAM are eager to dedicate World Olive Day 2023 to the vital role that women play in the olive sector and across the entire olive production chain, from the cultivation of the crop to its place on our tables. To this end, both intergovernmental organisations have joined forces with a number of women’s associations working in the olive oil sector that represent a diversity of geographical areas, including the Women in Olive Oil network from the USA, the Arab and Jordanian Olive Oil Women’s Network, the Women & Olives LATAM network, and the Italian associations Pandolea and Donne dell’Olio. Besides offering their support across a diversity of aspects that relate to the organisation of WOD 2023, these networks are actively collaborating on the collection of videos that represent the members of their associations as they contribute their hard work to the production of olive oil all over the world and across all of its stages. The deadline for the submission of videos is October 22nd, after which the organisers will begin to work on a compilation that will be shown to the guests attending WOD.
Sunday 22 October is also a significant milestone in the organisation of WOD for another reason: it is also the deadline for the reception of submissions for the international artwork competition launched by the IOC and CIHEAM in September. Everyone from all over the world is invited to participate in this graphic artwork competition that aims to highlight and celebrate women’s fundamental contribution to the olive oil sector. More information regarding the competition can be found here. The best artworks will be presented during the WOD ceremony, and the two finalists will be invited to Madrid to attend the celebration in-person.
The IOC and CIHEAM also have other exciting events in store to celebrate WOD 2023 and women’s contributions to the olive world, such as a delightful cocktail reception with a tasting of traditional and oil-based dishes from all over the world. The event, which will be attended by senior representatives of international organisations and of the IOC’s Council of Members, promises to be a delicious success! Stay tuned for more updates on WOD 2023!