SE136 Gender Equality & Malnutrition Transformation: approaches to addressing causes & improved nutrition: Three new perspectives: relationship between gender equality and food; gender-transformative approaches to nutrition; and scaling up

Organizers

  • World Vision
  • Women Deliver
  • FAO
  • IFAD
  • WFP
  • European Union (EU)
  • SDG 2 Advocacy Hub

The next generation approach to addressing gender barriers to improved food security for all must move beyond the historical paradigm of addressing women as beneficiaries, to empowering them as transformational change agents with autonomy and structural power to make meaningful and sustainable change. With a woman farmer from Guruve, Zimbabwe leading the discussions and sharing her own experiences, partners will introduce new innovative frameworks, survey modules, and good practices to address the gender-based causes of food insecurity and malnutrition. Initiatives introduced:

  • Gender Transformative Framework for Addressing Malnutrition and Gender Inequality
  •  Gender Equality for Food Security Measure survey module that will explore the relationship between gender equality and food security as experienced by individuals.
  • A focus on Scaling up gender transformative approaches to eradicate hunger, end poverty and promote sustainable agriculture

Key speakers/presenters

  • Moderator : Lauren Landis, Director of Nutrition at the UN World Food Programme

Panellists:  

  • Elizabeth Gwevo, Farmer, Mudhindo village, Zimbabwe, ENTERPRIZE Participant
  • Marlène Elias,  Gender Specialist at Bioversity International and Gender Research Coordinator for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry
  • Dan Irvine , Senior Director, Health and Nutrition at World Vision International
  • Andrew Rzepa, Partner, Gallup
  • Closing statements: H.E. Mario Arvelo, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to FAO, IFAD & WFP  and Chair of CFS

Main themes/issues discussed

It is recognised that gender equality is essential for attaining food security, better nutrition and achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. Approaches to addressing gender inequalities  must move beyond the historical paradigm of addressing women as beneficiaries, to empowering them as transformational change agents with autonomy and structural power to make meaningful and sustainable change. Over the last 15 years, Gender Transformative Approaches (GTAs) have become prominent in rural development strategies that address the root causes of rural gender inequalities, in order to improve food security and nutrition and increase agricultural production in a sustainable manner, while also contributing to economic growth. GTAs offer an alternative to the “business as usual” approach to gender integration.

Achieving gender equality and empowering rural women will not only improve food security, nutrition, health and education outcomes, it will also bring immediate and long-term economic and social benefits for families, communities and nations at large.

With a woman farmer from Guruve, Zimbabwe leading the discussions and sharing her own experiences, partners introduced new innovative frameworks, survey modules, and good practices to address the gender-based causes of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Perspectives and Initiatives introduced:

Elizabeth Gwevo shared her experiences prior to participating in a transformative project, Enterprize in her village. Before the project and as a single mother, Elizabeth had little knowledge of farming, and was not able to produce enough food for her family. As a woman, she was not able to receive the training, skills and resources she needed to be a productive farmer. Today, Elizabeth serves as a lead farmer and teaches other peer farmers on agriculture production,  rural finance and nutrition.

Gender Transformative Framework for Addressing Malnutrition and Gender Inequality. https://bit.ly/2BY6Hfj World Vision International

Gender Equality for Food Security Measure survey module that will explore the relationship between gender equality and food security as experienced by individuals. Gallup/WFP  

A focus on scaling up gender transformative approaches to eradicate hunger, end poverty and promote sustainable agriculture. FAO/Bioversity International
 

Summary of key points

Women comprise around 50 percent of the agricultural workforce in developing countries and they are critical agents of change in the fight against rural poverty, hunger and malnutrition.  When you empower women, you empower the entire household.

Although in recent years we have seen intensified efforts to address gender inequalities in agriculture, women still continue to face greater challenges than men in access to and control over productive resources and services. Evidence shows that conventional gender strategies -  important as they are – tend to treat the symptoms of gender inequalities (such as lack of access to resources and services), but they often fail to address the underlying structural impediments to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. These structural impediments are core, they lie in discriminatory social norms, attitudes, behaviours and practices that regard women and girls as inferior to men and boys. If we are serious about gender equality, we have to move beyond reaching and benefitting women to challenging and addressing the root causes, which include negative norms and practices that cause gender inequalities.

We won’t end malnutrition without gender equality; but we also won’t achieve gender equality without ending malnutrition.

We need to monitor changes in gender norms; we need to improve our measures in monitoring the changes and encouraging lead actors

The women’s relative status to men, and a girl’s secondary education accounts for half of reductions in all child underweight.   https://bit.ly/2BXyaOe

Without a transformation towards gender equality, we will not realize the nutrition and food security goals we have. The provision for universal primary schooling for girls in Sub-Saharan Africa alone can increase agricultural productivity by 25 percent. 

Key take away messages

To empower women, we should invest in universal education for girls, and professional literacy (e.g. financial, technical, entrepreneurial…) for female farmers; we should advocate enabling enivironments free of violence and providing equitable legal systems (eg. land and assets entitlement…).

The concept of gender transformation has become central to key development commitments and policies, including the Agenda 2030. GTAs are about transformation – addressing the root causes of gender inequalities.

To all food security, nutrition and agriculture practitioners on the ground, a call to improve your gender analysis practice, ensuring that we always consider the root causes of gender inequalities, and address them squarely in our programmatic investments.  Those investments must respond to the specific needs of women, men, girls and boys.

We must all recognize our mutual accountability for these actions; and we must monitor our progress.

Gender equality is to our food and nutrition goals, as it cuts across all the SDG’s.  As a cross-cutting goal,  there might be an assumption that gender equality that  someone else will work on it; someone else will make the needed investments.  History has shown us that we will not achieve our goals by not investing in women and girls.   It is true that our sectoral colleagues will need to invest, but our community must do our part.  Our investments, and the resources entrusted to us, must equally be applied.

Gender based violence, which is normally not a focus point of nutrition and food security work, has a deep impact on nutritional outcomes. If we are able to understand the significant relevance of gender issues, we must be prepared to invest our resources into the kind of interventions that would address these issues.

The next time we come together to discuss gender, food and nutrition, it should be to measure our investments, and our progress.  

CFS 46 Side Event: SE136 Gender Equality & Malnutrition Transformation: approaches to addressing causes & improved nutrition

 

The contents of this page is provided by the Side Event organizers and does not reflect the opinion of CFS