Gender and Food Security

In this issue: 

Key resources on gender and food security, including the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack and a selection of other key relevant resources featured from the BRIDGE global resources database. 

March 2015
Issue number: 

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. 

It is possible to freely download a copy of BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and Food Security 

The Pack includes: 

An In Brief, with an overview article and two case studies.

An Overview Report, outlining the main issues, showcasing effective and promising existing strategies, and suggesting rights-based, gender-just and environmentally sustainable approaches

The In Brief is also available in French and in Spanish. The Overview Report will also be translated into French and Spanish very soon.

Supporting Resources: 

The following is a selection of key resources related to the topic of gender and food security recently added to the BRIDGE global resources database.  

You can search for more resources on the BRIDGE website, including French and Spanish ones.

Final report: The transformative potential of the right to food

Over the past six years, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food has conducted country visits in thirteen countries. In this final report, he presents his main conclusions and an overview of key recommendations.

2013 Global Hunger Index: The Challenge of Hunger: Building Resilience to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security

The 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the eighth in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger. It shows that the world has made some progress in reducing hunger since 1990, but still has far to go.

Gender and Agroforestry in Africa: are Women Participating?

This paper presents the findings of a review undertaken on gender and the adoption of agroforestry in Africa.

Land Rights and Food Security: the linkages Between Secure Land Rights, Women and Improved Household Security and Nutrition

This short five page brief concisely sets out the key issues linking secure land rights, women and improved household food security and nutrition.

Addressing Gender in Climate-Smart Smallholder Agriculture

This four-page policy brief focuses on the constraints that women face to more equitable participation in smallholder carbon and climate-smart initiatives.

Right to Food Campaign

The new India’s Right to Food Campaign website is an action-oriented website, with lots of material on the right to food in India including primers, articles, survey reports, court orders, campaign tools and much more.

Ixpiyakok Women’s Association, Guatemala

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.

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 current situation and provide a basis for focused action.

Urban poverty, food security and climate change

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.

In the news: 

BRIDGE at CSW, New York, March 9th to 20th

The 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place from 9 - 20 March.

BRIDGE, in partnership with Gender at Work, the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Argentina (FLACSO), held an event to celebrate the winners of the End Gender Discrimination Now competition. 

You can follow IDS and BRIDGE's experiences at the CSW via our Twitter account and the Interactions website.