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Gender and Food Security

The role that gender plays in a range of broad development areas. Issues of focus include governance, gender based violence, the economy, sexual and reproductive rights, citizenship and social movements.
This update focuses on the gender and food security and highlights the new cutting edge pack and a selection of key relevant resources featured in the BRIDGE global resources database.

There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone. Yet estimates indicate that between 2012 and 2014 at least 805 million people experienced extreme, chronic malnourishment – at least 60 per cent being women and girls. Evidence shows a strong correlation between gender inequality and food and nutrition insecurity. Women’s own food security and nutrition needs – and often those of their daughters – are being neglected at the household level, where discriminatory social and cultural norms prevail.

At the same time despite constituting the majority of food producers in the world, women have limited access to local and global markets. They are also the most disadvantaged by the inequitable global economic processes that govern food systems and the increasing volatility of food prices. This is compounded by women and girls’ often limited access to productive resources, education and decision-making power, by the ‘normalised’ burden of unpaid work – including care work – and by the endemic problems of gender-based violence (GBV), and HIV and AIDS.

Whilst there are some excellent examples of local and national gender – transformative policy and practice (some of which are detailed below), there is an urgent need to change the way decision-makers think about food and nutrition issues. The current focus on increasing production which recognises the need to address women’s unequal access to productive resources is welcome, however by only focusing on economic empowerment they miss an opportunity to engage with the root causes of gender inequalities.

A re-framing of the issues is needed, one that not only promotes women’s access to productive resources but contributes to gender-just social and economic transformation as both a means to food and nutrition security and as an end-goal.

Photo credit: Bioversity International\ A. Camacho
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Gender and Food Security | BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack
A. Spieldoch; G. Aboud; A. Brody / Institute of Development Studies UK 2015
There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone, but the number of people who do not have enough to eat remains unacceptably high, with disproportionate impacts on women and girls. Reversing this shocking trend must be a ...
Final report: The transformative potential of the right to food
O. de Schutter / United Nations General Assembly 2014
Over the past six years, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food has conducted country visits in thirteen countries: Benin, Cameroon, Madagascar and Malawi, low-income countries; Brazil, China, Guatemala, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicarag...
Gender and Agroforestry in Africa: are Women Participating?
E. Kiptot; S. Franzel / World Agroforestry Centre 2011
This paper presents the findings of a review undertaken on gender and the adoption of agroforestry in Africa. The concept of gender as used in this paper is not about women, but rather as an organising principle in society, which is u...
Land Rights and Food Security: the linkages Between Secure Land Rights, Women and Improved Household Security and Nutrition
Landesa 2012
As governments, the private sector, multilateral institutions, and international development organisations weigh the options for improving food security around the world, they must consider one of the most promising elements for addre...
Addressing Gender in Climate-Smart Smallholder Agriculture
World Agroforestry Centre 2013
This four-page policy brief focuses on the constraints that women face to more equitable participation in smallholder carbon and climate-smart initiatives. It highlights the important role that a flexible learning approach plays in ad...
Website: Right to Food Campaign
Right to Food Campaign, New Delhi 2015
The new India’s Right to Food Campaign website was launched in March 2014 at the campaign’s fifth convention. It is an action-oriented website, with lots of action-oriented material on the right to food in India including ...
Ixpiyakok Women’s Association, Guatemala.
Equator Initiative 2013
Ixpiyakok Women’s Association (Associación de Mujeres Ixpiyakok - ADEMI) brings together 30 groups of Maya women in Chimaltenango to improve local food security and nutrition through organic family farms and seed banks. O...
Urban poverty, food security and climate change
C. Tacoli / International Institute for Environment and Development 2013
This paper argues that the high and volatile food prices that triggered a renewed interest in food security since the 2008–09 crisis are expected to continue due to the impacts of climate change. It notes that current policy is f...
HUNGaMA: Fighting hunger and malnutrition: The HUNGaMA Survey Report – 2011
The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Survey conducted across 112 rural districts of India in 2011 provides reliable estimates of child nutrition covering nearly 20 percent of Indian children. Its objective was to understand the curre...