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GENDER EQUALITY AND
FOOD SECURITY:
CHALLENGES FOR
DEVELOPMENT POLICY

Ruth Phillips
Faculty of Education & Social
Work
Women and Agriculture
•Key role of women in agricultural production
• Across the world women contribute substantially to a...
Women and Food Security
•Gender preference adversely affects nutrition
for girls in many societies in very poor contexts
–...
• The number of female-headed households is increasing
significantly in rural areas in many developing countries- rural
me...
Contemporary Research
• Tends to ignore women beyond accounting for their presence and
functions in agriculture and provis...
UNMDGs – Key Global Development
Policy Framework
• UN MDGs – recognises links between gender inequality & poverty• Materna...
Research: Masai Village Women– Narok District,
Kenya
• Study showed that women act to overcome gender
equality to ensure f...
Example of Development that recognises multiple
strategies for improving household income & food on
the table
• UBC resear...
Feminist perspectives
• Importance – emancipation from unequal
treatment – recognition of capacity for change –
reduces in...
References
• FAO (2013) Women and sustainable food security. Women in
Development Service (SDWW) FAO Women and Population ...
Question for discussion
How might you go about integrating the broader concepts of gender
equality and women's emancipatio...
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Ruth Phillips - Gender equality and food securty

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Ruth Phillips - Gender equality and food securty

  1. 1. GENDER EQUALITY AND FOOD SECURITY: CHALLENGES FOR DEVELOPMENT POLICY Ruth Phillips Faculty of Education & Social Work
  2. 2. Women and Agriculture •Key role of women in agricultural production • Across the world women contribute substantially to agricultural prod. & household income, producing btw. 60 & 80 % of the food in most developing countries (FAO, 2013). • responsible for half of the world's food production, but key role as food producers & providers & contribution to household food security, is only recently becoming recognised. • Women work as both subsistence & commercial farmers (food & cash) • Women are key agents for food security in poor households • Most women involved in subsistence agriculture live in patriarchal communities where men are heads of households – imposes many constraints on capacity to address food security & poverty issues
  3. 3. Women and Food Security •Gender preference adversely affects nutrition for girls in many societies in very poor contexts – leads to one form of ‘gendercide’ •Poor nutrition in young girls leads to very poor outcomes in contexts where they are child brides •In richer country poor households women will sacrifice their own nutrition for their children – social determinants of health overlap/ FS •Nutrition is key to good maternal health and lactation and infant health
  4. 4. • The number of female-headed households is increasing significantly in rural areas in many developing countries- rural men more likely to migrate for employment etc. • SSA, 31% of rural households are headed by women, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia women head 17& and 14%, respectively (FAO, 2013) • in almost all countries female-headed households are concentrated amongst the poor poorer & often have lower income than male-headed households. • FAO has identified, potential consequences of the absence of male labour ; • terms of declining yields and outputs or shifts in production toward less nutritious crops requiring less labour • increased reliance on child labour - has further implications for the family human capital of the country • women's access to labour-saving technology is of particular importance.
  5. 5. Contemporary Research • Tends to ignore women beyond accounting for their presence and functions in agriculture and provision for children • Most women & food security research done in the 1990s • Still draws on WID, WAD & GAD models – none focusing on the links between women’s emancipation and capacity for more secure food resources • Grass roots feminist action is most likely to succeed in sustainable solutions. • A big constraint to the effective recognition of women's actual roles and responsibilities in agriculture is the scarcity of genderdisaggregated data available to technicians, planners and policymakers (FAO, 2013).
  6. 6. UNMDGs – Key Global Development Policy Framework • UN MDGs – recognises links between gender inequality & poverty• Maternal health & poverty; girls education and poverty • It doesn’t recognises the links between the social/political/ethnic shifts in households that must take place for other strategies to be effective • Limitations of the empowerment paradigm – individual empowerment – does not lead to equality • Based on global study (Phillips 2013) – it fails to address the broad structural changes required for many women to build capacity for such issues as food security • Fails to recognise the need for emancipation
  7. 7. Research: Masai Village Women– Narok District, Kenya • Study showed that women act to overcome gender equality to ensure food security, education etc. for their children • Through informal education in women’s groups (eg. teaching numeracy for accounting for small loans) • built their own capacity to manage affairs behind their husbands backs – to overcome traditional constraints on resources – particularly cash • development assistance should recognise women’s spaces & informal learning as a key sites for capacity building & to food security & poverty prevention
  8. 8. Example of Development that recognises multiple strategies for improving household income & food on the table • UBC research receives $2.9 million to improve nutrition of rural Cambodian women and children • In this project, 600 households, largely headed by women farmers, will raise small nutritious fish for their families in the same ponds as large fish, which will be sold for income. Combined with vegetable and fruit production, the project is expected to help reduce anemia and under-nutrition in a country where one-third of childhood deaths are directly related to under-nutrition and poor feeding practices. It should also increase household food security and incomes. • But does in go far enough? – argue for a wider integrated approach – must address the political issues of women’s access to ongoing financial management and independence re resources
  9. 9. Feminist perspectives • Importance – emancipation from unequal treatment – recognition of capacity for change – reduces incapacity by recognising DV, sexual harassment and cultural & ethnic limitations • Capacity to address nutrition must be addressed through gender equality measures • This is not just about food production – it is about power – increasing household income by addressing issues of women’s access to resources, e.g. access to land ownership and cash exchange
  10. 10. References • FAO (2013) Women and sustainable food security. Women in Development Service (SDWW) FAO Women and Population Division http://www.fao.org/sd/fsdirect/fbdirect/fsp001.htm • Gladwin, C., Thompson, A., Peterson, J. & Anderson, A. (2001) Addressing food security in Africa via multiple livelihood strategies of women farmers. Food Policy 26 (2), pp. 177-207 • Phillips, R. (2009) “Food security and women’s health: A Feminist Perspective for International Social Work”, International Social Work 52(4) pp. 477-490 • University of British Colombia (2012) UBC research receives $2.9 million to improve nutrition of rural Cambodian women and children. Media Release, June 20, 2012 http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/06/20/ubc-research-receives-29-million-to-improve-nutrition-of-rural-cambodian-women-andchildren/
  11. 11. Question for discussion How might you go about integrating the broader concepts of gender equality and women's emancipation into strategies for food security?

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