Are women the secret weapon in the battle for food security?
Original story at guardian.co.uk • 5 mentions • 9 months ago
guardian.co.uk 9 months ago
The notion that gender equality can play an important role in reducing hunger and malnutrition has gained increasing traction in development circles. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation claimed in its 2010-11 State of Food and Agriculture report that equal access to agricultural resources could reduce world hunger by 12-17%. Gender and food security also came under the spotlight in the 2012 edition of the World Bank's flagship annual report, where it was argued that parity in areas including land rights, employment and political representation could improve development outcomes.These ideas are not new. Obliged to raise children, care for sick and elderly people, and run households – work that, valued in monetary terms, would be equivalent to 15% of GDP in low-income countries, rising to 35% in middle-income countries – it has long been argued that women are being denied education opportunities, marginalising them both economically and politically. The challenge lies in convincing policymakers to do something about these multiple challenges.So, given the task of exploring the issues surrounding gender and food security, what fresh impetus could Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, lend the debate?Well, for a start he hopes to persuade governments of the need for wholesale change at every level of society. "We must address how gender roles are being defined within the family and who makes the decisions in government," says De Schutter.