What is the impact of gender discrimination on the right to food?


While women make up 80% of the world’s agricultural labour force, they own less than 1% of land and account for less than 1% of credit offered to farmers globally. This huge interest group is under-represented economically, legally and politically, meaning that these key actors in realizing the right to food are barely heard.

Closing the gender gap in agriculture is key to achieving Millennium Development Goal Nr.1. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, a series of priority actions could help to close this gap: eliminating discriminatory laws and cultural practices; supporting the development of women’s cooperatives ; employing more women in the extension services sector; titling schemes combined with broader agricultural support; issuing titles in the name of both the husband and wife; and encouraging more diverse farming practices such as diverse crop plantings and combining cash crops with subsistence crops.

The Special Rapporteur presented a report on Gender and the right to food to the Human Rights Council in March 2013.

Read 24/07/2013: 'Gender Equality and Food Security – Women’s Empowerment as a Tool Against Hunger'' Report prepared at the request of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the three-day Asia-Pacific high-level consultation on 'Gender, Food Security and Nutrition: Ensuring the Other Half Equal Opportunities' in Bangkok (24-26 July).
Read 11/05/2013: 'The contribution of Fair Trade to securing human rights in agriculture' - Q&A from the Special Rapporteur (11 May 2013).
Read 04/03/2013: 'Gender and the Right to Food', Report presented to the 22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, also available in French, and Spanish. Other language versions can be found here.
Read The New York Times (Intl)"The Feminization of Farming" (04-03-2013)
Read Oxfam (Intl)The Recivilization of Men by Women (30-11-2012)
Read 22/06/2012: Article by Olivier De Schutter entitled 'Our secret weapon against hunger: gender equality and women's empowerment' for the Asian Development Bank's Eminent Speakers' Forum.
Read 22/06/2012: Article by Olivier De Schutter entitled 'The contribution of the right to food to global food security: a tool not a symbol' for the Asian Development Bank's Eminent Speakers' Forum.
Read 24/10/2011: Towards more equitable value chains: alternative business models in support of the right to food, Report presented at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly [A/66/262] (also available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian).