27 February 2017
Our new Research Brief Gender Equality and the Right to Food in Contexts of Agricultural Commercialization highlights the role international human rights law and policies on the right to food and gender equality may play in mitigating the negative impacts of agricultural development.
Changes in agricultural production and land use influence power relations between women and men. Research demonstrates that the increasing commercialization of agriculture, particularly the promotion of export-oriented non-food crops accompanied by large-scale land acquisitions, reinforces existing gender-based inequalities.
The development of agribusinesses tends to perpetuate structural forms of discrimination against women in agricultural employment, notably their concentration in unregulated, low-skilled, poorly remunerated and insecure wage work without access to social security entitlements.
Large-scale acquisitions of land and the privatization of commons including, forests, grazing lands and water resources, has been shown to benefit certain groups of men, while generally disadvantaging women. In countries where the rights of women to own, inherit, transfer, use and control land and other natural resources are restricted, these processes of agricultural commercialization can reinforce existing inequalities by consolidating private ownership and by privileging the development of large-scale, industrialized models of production.
At the household level, commercialization of agriculture can contribute to a decline in subsistence food production and a reduction in dietary diversity, quality and cultural acceptability of food. In poor rural families, where food is scarce, women tend to cut their protein intake and are therefore more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies than men.
These changes operate in a context where women and girls already constitute the majority of the world’s food insecure while being, at the same time, crucial actors in ensuring food security in rural areas.
Existing international human rights instruments on gender equality and the right to food entail clear obligations for governments and other actors to ensure that all people have physical and economic access to adequate food and the means of accessing food at all times.
‘International human rights law and related policies on the right to food and gender equality contain a number of key principles that are applicable within contexts of agrarian change’ underlines Joanna Bourke Martignoni, the author of the report. ‘These principles provide concrete guidance and tools for policy-makers and other actors to ensure the realisation of gender equality and the right to food in practice’ she adds.
Our longitudinal research project examines the right to food and gender equality as key drivers of food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana. This Research Brief has been developed to provide an overview for policy-makers, legislators and civil society of the current state of international law and policy on gender equality and the right to food within settings of agricultural commercialization.
Our two research fellows, Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni and Dr Christophe Golay, spent a week in Ethiopia to discuss the mid-term findings of the six year research project on the relationship between agricultural and land commercialization, the right to food and gender equality (DEMETER).
Our new publication The Right to Seeds in Europe focuses on the steps that the European Union (EU) and EU member states shall take, via the implementation of the UN Declaration, to better protect this right in Europe.
This public conference will discuss the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants in Europe and its contribution to the SDGs and the UN Decade of Family Farming.
Nicolas Axelrod / Ruom
Cette formation en ligne permet d’acquérir une connaissance approfondie des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (DESC), des obligations des états et des mécanismes chargés de les protéger et de surveiller leur mise en œuvre.
© ILO/ Joydeep Mukherjee
This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.
The project will notably identify the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.