A violet chair to give indigenous women a seat at the table

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has urged countries to unite behind a campaign to promote indigenous women’s rights and encourage their participation in policy discussions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

© FAO / Riccardo De Luca

“We call on countries to stand up and guarantee a place at the table for indigenous women in policy-making processes. Without them, we cannot achieve the Zero Hunger goal and we will not achieve Sustainable Development,” Graziano da Silva said in a video message ahead of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.

There are some 400 million indigenous peoples in the world; about half of them are women. Indigenous women raise livestock, farm, fish and hunt to gather food for their communities. They are also considered guardians of seeds and medicinal plants.

But despite their contributions, indigenous women are not part of policy and decision-making processes affecting their lives. Often, social protection policies fail to include their views and needs. And, despite their wealth of expertise, their work, knowledge and needs are not represented in statistics. All in all, this renders them invisible.

In January, FAO launched the Global Campaign for the empowerment of Indigenous Women for Zero Hunger with the International Indigenous Women’s Forum and the News Agency of Indigenous and Afro-descendent Women.

One highlight of the campaign has been the Violet Chair initiative - a call to authorities, policy makers, organizations, the international community, academia and civil society to guarantee the full and effective participation of indigenous women in policy discussions and decision-making processes that affect them and their communities.

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