The Right to Food

Equality is pivotal for realizing the right to food

News - 06.03.2020

6 March 2020, Rome - More than 820 million people do not have sufficient, safe and nutritious food to eat, and on every continent, women and girls are more likely than men to be affected by moderate or severe food insecurity.

Women are subjected to persisting inequalities, even if they comprise nearly 50 percent of employment in agriculture in low-income countries. They are instrumental in the fight against hunger and malnutrition and in making food systems more productive and sustainable, as the three United Nations' Rome-based agencies underlined at an event today marking International Women's Day (IWD).

Governments must create an enabling environment towards gender equality and face global challenges such as protracted crisis or migration, which cause additional legal and social hurdles for women and girls. 

In this sense, the Right to Food Guidelines highlight the importance to ensure the right to food for women and girls through policies, laws and strategies.

The right to food in gender issues is closely connected to resources and labour. “States should promote women’s full and equal participation in the economy and, for this purpose, introduce, where it does not exist, and implement gender sensitive legislation providing women with the right to inherit and possess land and other property”, Guideline 8.6 discusses. “States should also provide women with secure and equal access to, control over, and benefits from productive resources, including credit, land, water and appropriate technologies”, it adds. In this case, educations programmes, adult literacy and additional training programmes should be enhanced "regardless of race, colour, gender, language", Guideline 8.9 reflects.

Achieving adequate levels of nutrition is also key, for which countries should "eradicate any kind of discriminatory practices, especially with respect to gender", Guideline 10.8 points out.

Outspoken champions of human rights

IWD celebrations are held worldwide to advocate for women´s rights. It is also an occasion to recall that women have been at the same time shinning beacon for universal human rights.

Looking back at history in 1940s, Eleanor Roosevelt had a leading role in the draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But she was not the only one. Former United Nations delegates Angela Jurdak (Lebanon), Fryderyka Kalinowski (Poland), Bodgil Begtrup (Denmark), Minerva Bernardino (Dominican Republic) and Hansa Mehta (India) contributed to the inclusion of women’s rights in in the document. Since then, everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law without any discrimination.

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