Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

      1. Barriers: Most less developed countries follow a hierarchical system of governance, in which the process of policymaking generally involves people who, irrespective of their academic credentials, have attained a high management/administrative position. Considering that the number of women professionals in such bodies is less than 5-10%, it is only natural that the policy decisions are seldom gender inclusive, though it is accepted that women are at the centre of agrifood systems. Similarly, the youth rarely get representation in policymaking in the true sense, though there are some attempts made here and there.   
      2. Opportunities: With increasing education, women are becoming more aware of their needs and rights and forming all-women or women-centric groups from SHG to women cooperatives. While many of these fail soon after taking off, the few that succeed encourage many more to follow suit. 
      3. The educated and skilled youth are venturing into a large number of start-ups with or without help from funders, NGOs and corporate houses, and some have shown encouraging results, attracting the attention of the policymakers.

      Dr. Malavika Dadlani , Former Joint Director (Res.), ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, India

      Editor, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India.

    • Dear Madam/ Sir,

      My compliments to the team that developed a well thought of CFS Guidelines.
      I would like to draw specific attention to the cause of women working in the Informal sector, specially in India and other similar economies. As per a report in Times of India (TOI 9 Oct 2021) by Bishwapriya Sanyal,

      1. Nearly 90% of India's labour is employed in the informal sector, which includes small constructions, agriculture, transport, domestic services and others. They work on average >53 hours a week, with no or negligible social safeguard including food, nutrition and health. Women are even less privileged both in terms of lower wages, low preference (over male workers) both at work and at home.
      2. Often such occupations (~66%) are of high risk in nature such as construction, subsistence farming with high levels of drudgery, street vending at risk of accidents and physical abuse; domestic help etc. More women  (42%) are employed in such work than men (32%), particularly subsistence farming (where men opt for better paying non-farm work) and domestic services.  
      3. Globally, workers in the informal sector are more severely affected by natural calamities (including climate change disasters pandemics) as well as socio-political disruptions facing frequent migration. 
      4. Most of the women employed in the  informal sector have chosen this on compulsion, for not being adequately skilled to do anything else.
      5. Therefore, skilling is an integral part of women empowerment in the developing economies, which needs to be addressed for bringing F&N security for women.

      It is well known that when women have the right and access to food, it gets equitably distributed in the family, with children getting the best available food. Hence empowering women (particularly rural women) with the knowledge of the importance of nutritious food at childhood for future well being, skilling them, and organising groups to handle small enterprises to earn better, are going to go a long way in building a strong and self-reliant society.

      For this, enabling policies and necessary infrastructure need to be in place.

      Malavika Dadlani (India)
      Former Joint Director (Research), IARI, New Delhi
      Editor, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences