Oxfam International Blogs - women farmers http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/women-farmers en Pakistan: Women farmers raise their voices on climate change http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-15-pakistan-women-farmers-raise-their-voices-climate-change <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In many parts of Pakistan, climate change has threatened the livelihoods of millions of people in recent years. Rural farming communities are the worst hit. Changed weather patterns, frequent floods and droughts are witnessed in different places across the country, including the vast plains as well as riverine, desert and coastal areas.</strong></p> <p>The impacts and implications are equally diverse: Early or late rain spells with devastating effects on crops, saline water rendering thousands of acres of land barren, frequent and continuing land erosion. To make matters worse, periodic occurrences of water related disasters are snatching from the poor and vulnerable whatever they have left with, and thus creating a worrisome situation of food insecurity.</p> <p>Unfortunately, rural farming communities, especially the fishing communities  - already considered economically weak and vulnerable-, are the people forced to bear the brunt of climate change impacts. The women from these communities are double victims of this economic and social jeopardy because they are women, they come from economically marginalized groups and they have no say at all at any decision-making platform.</p> <h3>Women are no longer silent</h3> <p>Women from rural farming communities, in most cases, are unable to voice their specific needs even in a disaster situation. The increasing level of poverty has deterred the efforts aiming at social and economic empowerment and emancipation of women at different levels. However, at the same time there have been some developments  that revived the hope that the challenges, regardless of their scales and volume, could be turned into opportunities with the right policy, planning and on the ground  practical measures.</p> <p>Working with partner organizations and the communities worst hit by or most prone to climate change, we have been able to develop a number of model projects for dealing with disturbed weather patterns. While designing the models, we focused especially on creating resilience among the communities and on the economic and social revival of women farmers.</p> <p>Women from climate change hit areas have finally decided that they will no more remain silent and would come out and raise their voices for their rights.</p> <h3>The state of climate change resilience</h3> <p>Many women farmers and climate change vulnerable communities joined the <strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/" rel="nofollow">GROW Week</a></strong> celebrations. This can be seen as a sign of a better tomorrow. However, it’s a long and hard journey. There is a long way to go before having effective policies on climate change and food security beyond the closets of power corridors and implemented on the ground. These policies must benefit the most vulnerable prople and protect their lives, livelihoods and right to (quality) food.  </p> <p>The recent <strong><a href="https://www.ifpri.org/topic/global-hunger-index" rel="nofollow">Global Hunger Index</a></strong> issued by the International Food Policy Research Institute has shown a slight improvement of Pakistan on the hunger index. However, for a meaningful and significant advancement in combating poverty, the socio-economic emancipation and empowerment of vulnerable people has a crucial role to play. Hence, women farmers need to be on the forefront of all the endeavors against hunger and poverty.</p> <p>The celebration on the occasion of <a href="https://storify.com/Oxfam/grow-week-2015" rel="nofollow"><strong>GROW Week</strong></a>, with a considerable participation by women, youth &amp; men in the rallies, seminars, dialogues, universities, and urban centers demanding  policy actions on climate change and food security is a remarkable milestone across Pakistan.  This is something to celebrate as the role of women in public sphere of the country, especially in the rural communities have always been dismally insignificant in the past.</p> <p>The fact that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/multimedia/video/2015-making-change-female-climate-fighters" rel="nofollow"><strong>women are taking the climate</strong></a> change and food security agenda in their hands also shows that a considerable dent has already been made in the traditional exclusion of women in society. A lot has yet to be achieved to make the vulnerable communities climate change resilient in practice. The emergence of women from nowhere to everywhere in public spaces is an indication that the destination is not that far away now. Therefore, these voices for more resilient societies in the face of climate change need to be strengthened and heard and the GROW campaign will continue to do this at every level.</p> <h3>Take action</h3> <p><a href="https://act.oxfam.org/international/climate-change" rel="nofollow"><strong>Stand against climate change</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/explore/issues/gender-justice" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's work on women's rights</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Pakistan: Women farmers raise their voices on climate change</h2></div> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 11:50:00 +0000 Shafqat Aziz 27924 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-15-pakistan-women-farmers-raise-their-voices-climate-change#comments The first 4 years of Oxfam's GROW Campaign: Keep on growing! http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-01-first-4-years-oxfams-grow-campaign-keep-growing <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Four years ago this month, Oxfam’s GROW campaign launched with a rallying cry to “fix the broken food system.” In more than 50 countries, people like you have stood up to governments, banks and the world’s biggest brands – and won. None of this would have been possible without your support!</p> <iframe width="100%" height="383" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NkEv1UlsMgc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>But the fight isn’t over.</strong> GROW will continue to challenge the injustice of a system that means nearly 800,000,000 people still go hungry.  All over the world, in countries South and North, we’ll be working with others fighting hunger and climate change. This means facing head-on the powerful, filthy fossil fuel industry. Across Africa, and the developing world, we will stand alongside women, who produce our food to call for more support for them to <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-08-celebrating-female-climate-change-fighters">fight climate change</a>. Everywhere, we are holding the world's biggest food companies to account for their part in the climate story.</p> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZdsQ"><strong>Join our call to African leaders to support women food producers coping with climate change.</strong></a></p> <p><u>Here’s just some of the highlights of the last four years:</u></p> <p><strong>We've exposed human rights abuses: </strong>Just last month we helped to secure a new World Bank safeguard on land rights and won <a href="http://www.oxfamamerica.org/take-action/campaign/food-farming-and-hunger/land-freeze/">sweeping reforms</a> to how the Bank’s private sector lending arm operates. We've won back <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/tags/polochic-valley">land and compensation</a> for communities in South Sudan, Guatemala and Uganda, and the fight continues in Indonesia and <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2014-01-10/world-bank-funding-company-implicated-human-rights-abuses">Honduras</a>.</p> <p><strong>We’ve changed the law: </strong>We helped people in India and Peru to demand that their governments give their families enough nutritious food, through <a href="http://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2014/01/hope-for-food-security-found-in-peru/">successful campaigns</a> for stronger right to food laws.</p> <p><strong>We’ve pressured the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/behind-brands">world’s biggest brands</a> to do the right thing: </strong>5 global brands including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Africa’s biggest sugar producer (Ilovo) have committed to <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-18-pepsico-takes-stand-land-rights">zero tolerance of land grabs</a> in their supply chains. We’ve secured industry-leading commitments by 3 companies to tackle gender inequality in their cocoa supply chains, and commitments by 2 others to set targets for emissions cuts including from their supply chains - a first not just in the food sector but in any private sector industry.</p> <p><strong>We’ve pushed African governments beyond their comfort zone:</strong> We helped achieved major new commitments on agriculture and food security in Africa, after 2 million Africans <a href="http://www.one.org/africa/blog/good-news-au-leaders-summit-in-malabo-pledge-to-do-agric/">signed a petition</a> pushing for more money for small-scale farming. Ministers agreed to a new Regional Food Reserve for West Africa, and set bold new targets at the African Union to end hunger and halve poverty by 2025.</p> <p><strong>We’ve hammered the financial sector:</strong> Working with allies, we won hard <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/eu-deal-curbing-food-speculation-comes-none-too-soon">limits on speculation</a> on food commodities in the EU, immediate reforms to speculation on food prices by nine <a href="http://www.oxfamfrance.org/actualites/marches-agricoles-et-prix-alimentaires/speculation-agricole-loi-enfin-appliquee">European banks</a>, and strong commitments on land rights from Australia’s biggest banks.</p> <p><strong>We’ve turned the heat up on governments on climate change</strong>, winning a commitment to allocate 50% of Green Climate Funds to help people adapt, and a really strong focus on gender.</p> <p><strong>We’ve put women farmers on prime time TV:</strong>  Our competition searching for <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/12-07-24-female-food-heroes-2012-competition-launches-tanzania">‘female food heroes’</a> in Tanzania was turned into a daily reality TV show seen by millions of people. We’ve also celebrated the amazing achievements of women farmers in Armenia, <a href="http://www.oxfamblogs.org/eastafrica/?p=5545">Ethiopia</a>, <a href="http://www.oxfam.ca/grow/female-food-heroes">Canada</a>, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/countries/empowering-women-nigeria">Nigeria</a>, Georgia, Bolivia and Russia.</p> <p><strong>We’ve built a movement:</strong> whether touring with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KDBF0sX5QE">Coldplay</a>, talking to people about food through the <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/oxfamgrowmethod/">GROW Method</a>, or marching in the <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-09-26-peoples-climate-march-around-world-pictures-biggest-climate-mobilisation-ever">biggest ever climate mobilizations</a>, we’ve helped to grow a worldwide movement of people and organizations fighting hunger.</p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZdsQ"><strong>Join our call to African leaders to support women food producers coping with climate change.</strong></a></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The first 4 years of Oxfam&#039;s GROW Campaign: Keep on growing!</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-07-01-los-primeros-cuatro-a%C3%B1os-de-crece-%C2%A1sigamos-creciendo" title="Los primeros cuatro años de CRECE: ¡sigamos creciendo!" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/15-07-01-la-campagne-cultivons-quatre-ans-et-ca-continue" title="La campagne CULTIVONS : quatre ans et ça continue !" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:28:27 +0000 Rashmi Mistry 27227 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-01-first-4-years-oxfams-grow-campaign-keep-growing#comments The G7 in Schloss Elmau: Sending the right signal on food security and nutrition http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-04-30-g7-schloss-elmau-sending-right-signal-food-security-and-nutrition <div class="field field-name-body"><p>There are less than 40 days to go until the next <a href="http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/EN/Issues/G8/_node.html" rel="nofollow">G7 summit</a> in Schloss Elmau, Germany, where a small group of industrialized nations will meet to discuss areas of common interest in economic and foreign policy.</p> <p>This year, as in 2009 and 2012, food security and nutrition is a significant agenda item for the meeting.</p> <p>Through this move, industrialized countries appears to be sending a clear signal that they will significantly contribute to the achievement of the goal to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030.  </p> <p>But what does this mean in practice? And how can the group learn from previous mistakes?</p> <h3>Learning from the past</h3> <p>A commitment from the G7 to make tangible and measurable progress towards zero hunger by 2030 is very much welcome.</p> <p>The Sustainable Development Goals, which will be negotiated during September at the United Nations in New York, will also highlight such a goal. The role of richer, industrial countries such as those in the G7 remains vital to financing the implementation of the SDGs and in setting the broad policy direction that will determine many of the outcomes.</p> <p>However, as with many of these initiatives, the devil will be in the detail.</p> <p>Member states should learn lessons from previous initiatives on food security at the G7. For example, the <a href="https://new-alliance.org/" rel="nofollow">New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition</a>, which was established under the auspices of the US presidency at Camp David during 2012 has been heavily criticized by civil society groups, <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-10-06-leaving-leadership-council-new-alliance-food-security-and-nutrition">including Oxfam</a>, as top-down and non-participatory.</p> <p>Through the framework, new policies on land, tax and seeds, coupled with donor aid commitments, appear likely to benefit larger businesses or investors, rather than those that it purports to help - such as small-scale producers, women and the rural poor.</p> <h3>Three principles to ensure the success of the G7 food security initiative</h3> <p>Learning lessons from the past is vital if the G7 is to set a positive direction on food security and nutrition.</p> <p>The three principles below should be used by G7 policymakers as essential guidance or benchmarks to ensure the success of the initiative.</p> <p><strong>1. Human rights frameworks remain essential</strong>: the proposed food security approach of the G7 needs to be strongly aligned with participatory human rights guidelines such as the <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/y7937e/y7937e00.htm" rel="nofollow">Voluntary Guidelines on the Progressive Realization of the Right to Food</a>, and the <a href="http://www.fao.org/nr/tenure/voluntary-guidelines/en/" rel="nofollow">Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Land Tenure</a> (often known as the VGGTs). These guidelines include important principles to ensure that the initiative will lead to positive impact – including in targeting of vulnerable groups and ensuring that investments will do no harm.</p> <p><strong>2. Re-emphasize and prioritize public financing:</strong> Public spending on agriculture is badly needed in many developing countries, especially to support vulnerable and marginalized groups such as small scale producers, women and pastoralists. Sub-Saharan African countries still only spend around six per cent of national budgets on agriculture despite its importance to rural development and poverty eradication. The private sector can play a supportive role on food security if it invests in ways that strengthen sustainable small-scale production. However, private sector investment has a poor record at reaching the poorest and can cause harm when unregulated.</p> <p><strong>3. Alignment with the Committee on World Food Security (CFS):</strong> the reform and revitalization of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) during 2009 remains one of the most useful policy outcomes following the previous food crisis. Following reform, the CFS constitutes the foremost inclusive intergovernmental platform on food security and nutrition. Alignment of the G7 initiative with CFS decisions will ensure that the proposal remains guided by policies that can realize the right to food, and a country-owned vision for smallholder agriculture. The <a href="http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-home/global-strategic-framework/en/" rel="nofollow">Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition</a> (endorsed by the CFS in 2012) remains a useful reference point in this regard.  </p> <h3>What about climate change and the environment?</h3> <p>Finally, previous G7 initiatives have largely failed to address the linkages between hunger, climate change, soil degradation and other pressing environmental issues.The challenge to reduce hunger and malnutrition is paramount in the face of more frequent and heavier weather extremes; the alarming trend of soil degradation; the loss of biodiversity and increasing scarcity and salinity of water in many areas. The situation in the Sahel and in India on the one hand, and Sao Paulo and California on the other, show how important it is to take the issue of water scarcity seriously.</p> <p>Ecological approaches to agriculture, such as agroforestry; practices to increase soil organic matter; water shed management; and a ‘landscape approach’ are proven as a method to manage water resources and increase resilience to climate change. Without addressing the issue of water, any G7 initiative will be blind to some of the biggest challenges of coming decades in agricultural production.  </p> <p>As a useful first step to bridge food security and environmental aims, the G7 could learn useful lessons from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which held its first symposium on agro-ecology this year. Graziano da Silva, the FAO Director General, said at the time, that ‘<a href="http://www.lightevolution.co.uk/blog/is-fao-opening-a-window-for-ecological-farming/" rel="nofollow">a window was opened in the Cathedral of the Green Revolution</a>’. This willingness to embrace the agro-ecology approach points to new ways of thinking that can overcome the productionist and yield-focused mindset that dominates much of the policy thinking on agriculture and food security.</p> <p>To ensure the success of any proposed G7 initiative, its sponsors should both look to the failures of the past and to innovative approaches for the future. The need for human rights, inclusion and participation remain vital. It is time that G7 policymakers look beyond tired, conventional approaches based on business as usual. If policymakers are visionary, a world free from hunger based on a new social and ecological orientation could be in reach.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Marita Wiggerthale (<a href="http://twitter.com/mawigger" rel="nofollow">@mawigger</a>), Policy Adviser on Food Security, Oxfam Germany, on 30 April 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Vegetables grown in Touba Ngembe are displayed for sale in the village market of Ndiaganiao, Senegal. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/Oxfam, 20 April 2010</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZM4Z" rel="nofollow"><strong>Are the Sustainable Development Goals meeting international standards on landrights?</strong></a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The G7 in Schloss Elmau: Sending the right signal on food security and nutrition</h2></div> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:00:41 +0000 Marita Wiggerthale 26514 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-04-30-g7-schloss-elmau-sending-right-signal-food-security-and-nutrition#comments Celebrating female climate change fighters http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-08-celebrating-female-climate-change-fighters <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>“I’m inspired to call for other young people to act on climate change as we know for a fact that we will be the ones directly affected in the near future If it’s hard to plant and grow crops now, what about the next few decades? - Langing.</em></p><p>Langing is a youth leader in Mindanao, the Philippines – a country too often devastated by extreme weather, especially in recent years. <strong>For her, climate change is something personal</strong>: her school life stopped when the family’s harvest failed because of drought as they couldn’t afford her school fees. This in turn also led to the family being barely able to feed themselves as they had no homegrown food or income. But instead of lamenting this, Langing chose to become a climate change activist.</p><p><img alt="Langging, female climate fighter" title="Langging, female climate fighter" height="630" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/female-climate-fighters-langging-fb-jpg.jpg" /></p><p>As you read this now, climate change may feel like a distant threat. But there’s one area of our lives where its impact is inescapable as we all need it to survive: food.&nbsp; What we eat today, our children will not be able to eat in the all too close future. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>But women give us our best chance of producing enough good food</strong> in a quickly warming world. They make up <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/52011/icode/" rel="nofollow">43% of the agricultural workforce in developing countries</a> and play a vital role in food production and preparation around the globe. They have a wealth of knowledge about seeds, crops, water and land management. But the imbalanced responsibility of them putting food on their own family tables, as well as producing much of the world’s sustenance, is getting tougher all the time because of increasingly unpredictable weather.<br>Food is a prevailing reason why women are leading the fight against climate change.<br>And it’s not just in developing countries where the climate impact is felt. Liz had her farm, among many others’, under water for almost two months due to ruinous flooding in the UK in 2013.</p><p><strong>“We have to accept that the climate has changed. </strong>We’re getting wetter, warmer winters. We’re getting extreme weather that we’ve never got before. I think everybody needs to realize that we can’t just ignore this.”</p><p>Since 2013, Liz has been battling to protect her community from flooding.</p><p><img alt="Liz, female climate fighter" title="Liz, female climate fighter" height="630" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/liz-female-climate-fighter-fb-jpg.jpg" /></p><p>Meanwhile in arid sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is putting more stress on farmers. Rainfall in Zimbabwe has already declined by up to 15% in the last century.<br>Ipaishe is part of an irrigation project run by women in her community. They are working together to grow crops despite this decreasing rainfall, while using their experience to campaign for climate change adaptation techniques across the country so farmers can grow enough food to feed themselves - whatever the weather.</p><p>See more of these community efforts from Zimbabwe in the video below.</p><p><img alt="Ipaishe, female climate fighter" title="Ipaishe, female climate fighter" height="630" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ipaishe-female-climate-fighter-fb-jpg.jpg" /></p><p>Bolivian Rosario is one of the leaders of a community-based company supported by Oxfam known as APARAB. It produces cacao native to the Amazon. The community is also reforesting native species and sustainably exploiting woods and fruits. However, extreme and uncontrolled floods have hit the area with devastating results.</p><p>“I feel sad because although we didn’t really contribute to climate change, we are the ones suffering... I speak as a farmer, but we all need to get together to pressure the people in power.”</p><p><img alt="Rosario, female climate fighter" title="Rosario, female climate fighter" height="630" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/rosario-female-climate-fighter-fb-jpg.jpg" /></p><p><strong>This is just a snapshot of the huge contribution women across the world are making</strong> in the battle against climate change – an issue that impacts everyone, regardless of gender identity.<br>2015 is the year when turning point decisions will be made about climate change, decisions that will affect us all. In December, political leaders will meet in Paris to agree a new deal on climate change for the world. They have the power to agree to stop polluting and to start repairing the damage that’s already been done. But the burning question is: will they?</p><p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-09-26-peoples-climate-march-around-world-pictures-biggest-climate-mobilisation-ever"><strong>Thousands of people</strong></a> are already standing up to government and big business about climate change. Those with the power and influence to write effective rules must do so before it is too late. Otherwise the poorest families will continue being unjustly torn apart by climate change, while the rest of us are dragged into the adverse effects of climate change. And of the world’s poor, it is women and girls who bear the brunt.</p><p>In Rosario’s words: “If you want something, you can get it – it’s just about the power inside you to go and do things.&nbsp; So my message to people would be ‘let’s get organized, let’s get together, let’s talk and move forward towards the same point.”</p><p>Across our beautiful vulnerable planet women like Langing, Liz, Ipaishe and Rosario are leading the fight against climate change in inspiring and doable ways. Join them.</p><p>Watch these women in action here:</p><p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xfNjzpj4iTE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/action/stop-climate-change-making-people-hungry" rel="nofollow"><strong>Help stop climate change making people hungry</strong></a></p><p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/international-womens-day" rel="nofollow"><strong>Read and share more stories and blogs celebrating International Women's Day</strong></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Celebrating female climate change fighters</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-03-06-luchadoras-contra-el-cambio-clim%C3%A1tico" title="Luchadoras contra el cambio climático" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Sun, 08 Mar 2015 07:49:02 +0000 Alison Woodhead 25630 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-03-08-celebrating-female-climate-change-fighters#comments Meeting the women at the heart of the GROW campaign – part 1 http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-03-14-meeting-women-heart-grow-campaign-part-1 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>I’ve just taken over at Oxfam International as Head of Advocacy, Policy and Research for the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow">GROW campaign</a>. Getting to grips with the broad range of issues covered in the campaign – from <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/landgrabs" rel="nofollow">land grabbing</a> and <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/future-of-agriculture">sustainable agriculture</a> to <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/issues/climate-change" rel="nofollow">climate change</a> and <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-price-volatility-map" rel="nofollow">volatility of food prices</a> – is a bit daunting. But on a trip to South Africa last week I was able to meet a group of women whose experiences show precisely why the GROW campaign’s wide agenda is so vital.</strong></p> <p>At a small church in the township of Evaton, about an hour outside of Johannesburg, my colleague Rashmi and I met Wendy and several women from their community to discuss how climate change is making it harder for them to feed their families. Amidst the songs that sustained communities like theirs across the country during the struggle to end apartheid, they explained how the hot days, scarce water and dry soils hindered their efforts to grow food in local vegetable gardens.</p> <p>As we visited two such gardens with them later, it became clear how climate change is just one of many interconnected challenges they face.</p> <h3>Land rights</h3> <p>At both gardens, we stood on land the women did not own. The first was leased from a local landowner, who had just forced them to leave by refusing to allow them to sell their produce at a fair price to a local retailer. The second was informal land owned by the national electricity giant Eskom. Most women in their community seek to make such informal land productive, but without being able to secure it with fences, their produce is often stolen. As many of the millions of women in communities like their across developing countries have told Oxfam, “our land is our life”.</p> <h3>Adapting to climate change</h3> <p>On this insecure land they are growing vegetables like beetroot, cabbage, spinach and pumpkins. For the past two years, harvests have been poor. They complain about the scorching heat that has withered the plants; the new pests that now attack them; and the lack of secure water supplies for irrigation. Water was only available from local homes to irrigate the second garden three days per week. They say the climate and the harvests did not used to be like this.</p> <p>They want more information on how to improve their yields. They want to farm sustainably, using organic fertilizers, but they receive effectively no support from their government on what methods and approaches they should use to be most productive. They say that government extension officers – who should support small scale farmers across the country with expert advice and information – never come to see them.</p> <h3>Food prices and gender</h3> <p>The food they grow they aim to sell into the local market. To eat each day, they buy from the shops, where they complain of rising prices. Food prices in South Africa have doubled since 2006, with the increases linked by some researchers with observed periods of extreme violence in the country.</p> <p>The men in their communities are mostly unemployed. The women explain that a failure to provide food for their families can often lead to domestic violence. That is the human story behind the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter’s <strong><a href="http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2703-empowering-women-is-shortcut-to-tackling-hunger-un-expert-on-right-to-food" rel="nofollow">recent report</a></strong> that showed how challenging pervasive discrimination, gender stereotypes and women’s low social standing is central to the fight against poverty and hunger.</p> <h3>Fighting for food justice</h3> <p>It is the experiences of these women that confirms why the broad agenda of the GROW campaign is so essential. Bringing an end to hunger for this and all future generations – food justice in our resource constrained world – is only possible if we challenge the injustice that afflicts the entire global food system, from farm to fork.</p> <p>It’s that system that leaves women without secure land to farm; that prevents good investment in agriculture from reaching the people that need it most; that means runaway climate change is devastating agriculture; and that drives volatility in the price of food. In part 2 of this post I’ll give a quick overview of what the GROW campaign has helped to achieve on all these fronts since it was launched in June 2011. We’ve certainly made a start, and scored some big wins along the way. But as the women of Evaton remind us, this is a fight is far from over.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/issues" rel="nofollow"><strong>Grow campaign - the issues</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/signup" rel="nofollow">Join GROW!</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Meeting the women at the heart of the GROW campaign – part 1</h2></div> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:25:33 +0000 Tim Gore 10242 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-03-14-meeting-women-heart-grow-campaign-part-1#comments El sabor amargo del cacao http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10233 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>La semana pasada lanzamos la campaña <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/campaigns/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">Tras la marca</a>, y la empezamos con un llamamiento a <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/campaigns/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">Mars, Mondelez International y Nestlé</a> para que dejen de ignorar a las mujeres que trabajan en sus cadenas de suministro de cacao</strong>. Entre las tres, estas empresas obtienen unos beneficios netos de más de 45 mil millones de dólares anuales con las ventas de sus golosinas. Pero el negocio no es tan redondo para las mujeres que forman parte de las cadenas de suministro de este producto (tanto cultivadoras como recolectoras).</p> <p><strong>Más de 11.000 personas ya han pasado a la acción.</strong> La gente adora el chocolate de estas empresas, pero detestan el trato que se dispensa a las mujeres de sus cadenas de suministros de cacao.</p> <p>La acción ya ha suscitado una respuesta inmediata por parte de <strong>Mars</strong> en un<strong><a href="http://cocoasustainability.com/2013/02/the-role-of-women-in-making-cocoa-sustainable/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> blog</a></strong> en el que describen su Iniciativa para el cacao sostenible.</p> <p>“…la Iniciativa para el cacao sostenible está diseñada para trabajar con estas comunidades para ayudar a aliviar flagelos sociales como la pobreza, la carencia de educación y la falta de oportunidades centrándose en los principales desafíos a los que se enfrentan los agricultores. Reconocemos el importante rol de la mujer a la hora de solucionar estos problemas y para que estas comunidades avancen”.</p> <p>Desde <strong>Nestlé</strong> nos <strong><a href="http://www.nestle.com/media/newsandfeatures/nestle-food-security-oxfam-behind-the-brands" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">agradecieron</a></strong> por haberlos colocado en primer lugar en nuestra <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/campaigns/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">tabla de puntuaciones</a></strong> de “Tras la marca” y respondieron, en alusión a su trabajo con los agricultores: </p> <p>“Al trabajar de forma cooperativa con más de 600 mil agricultores que nos ofrecen su materia prima, nos encontramos en una posición primordial para conseguir un impacto real”.</p> <p>La respuesta de Mondelez destacaba la importancia de su iniciativa Cocoa Life: </p> <p>“Desde octubre, hemos destinado 600 millones de dólares a invertir en 10 años en nuestras iniciativas Cocoa Life y Coffee Made Happy [La vida del cacao y Café feliz, respectivamente], a fin de construir unas comunidades vibrantes, sostenibles en cuanto a producción, que garanticen beneficios a millones de personas del mundo en desarrollo”. <em>”</em></p> <h3>Es necesario un cambio fundamental</h3> <p>La verdad es que ya sabemos que las tres empresas tienen proyectos cuya intención es ayudar a los agricultores. También sabemos que estos proyectos, en algunos casos, han tenido un gran impacto sobre las mujeres y los trabajadores. Pero los proyectos de los que estas empresas hacen gala son apenas una mínima parte de lo indispensable.<strong> Es necesario conseguir cambios fundamentales en las políticas que realmente rigen la forma de hacer negocios de estas empresas.</strong></p> <p>Juntas, Mars, Mondelez y Nestlé, compran casi un tercio de todo el cacao recolectado a nivel global. Tienen el poder de influenciar a los proveedores, a gobiernos y a autoridades de certificación, y pueden influenciar cambios en las políticas y en las prácticas del sector.</p> <p><strong>Ninguna de las 3 empresas obtiene buenas puntuaciones en sus políticas sobre la mujer en nuestra tabla de puntuaciones de Tras la marca,</strong> y Mars y Mondelez incluso obtienen las puntuaciones más bajas, lo que significa que sus políticas para con las mujeres ni siquiera encajan con lo que se espera en la actualidad.</p> <p>La campaña Tras la marca de Oxfam define <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/policy/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">tres pasos</a></strong> clave para que Mars, Mondelez y Nestlé acaben con el trato injusto hacia las mujeres en sus cadenas de suministro del cacao.</p> <p>Las tres empresas han demostrado que están dispuestas a comprometerse en cuanto a temas importantes como la certificación de la fuente de su cacao. Ahora <strong>ha llegado la hora de que estos gigantes del chocolate muestren su liderazgo en relación con los derechos de las mujeres. </strong></p> <h3><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/campaigns/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">Suma tu voz a nuestra acción </a>y participa en<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/campaigns/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow"> </a>la<a href="https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1447-the-truth-behindthebrands" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> acción Thunderclap</a> el 8 de marzo.</h3> <p><strong>¿Quieres más información? Lee el informe: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece/policy/tras-la-marca" rel="nofollow">Tras la marca. El papel de las 10 grandes empresas de alimentación y bebidas en el sistema alimentario </a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>El sabor amargo del cacao</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-03-01-are-women-from-mars" title="Are women from Mars?" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-03-05-les-femmes-viennent-elles-de-mars" title="Les femmes viennent-elles de Mars ?" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 15:50:52 +0000 Conor Costello 10233 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10233#comments Are women from Mars? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-03-01-are-women-from-mars <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Tuesday’s <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/campaigns/behind-brands" rel="nofollow">Behind The Brands</a> campaign launch kicked off with a call for <a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en/campaign-news/women-and-chocolate" rel="nofollow">Mars, Mondelez International and Nestle</a> to stop ignoring the women who are working in their cocoa supply chains.</strong> Between them, these three companies net more than $45 billion a year in confectionary sales. But throughout their cocoa supply chains – from growers to pickers – women are getting a raw deal.</p> <p>More than 7,000 people have already taken the action - people who love the chocolate these companies produce, but hate the way they put women in their cocoa supply chains last. So <strong>thank you!</strong></p> <p>The action sparked an immediate response from <strong>Mars</strong> via a <a href="http://cocoasustainability.com/2013/02/the-role-of-women-in-making-cocoa-sustainable/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>blog post</strong></a>, describing their Sustainable Cocoa Initiative.</p> <p><em>“… the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative is designed to work with these communities to help ease social hurdles like poverty, lack of education, and lack of opportunity by addressing the core challenges that farmers face. We recognize the important role women will play in addressing these problems and in moving their communities forward.”</em></p> <p><strong>Nestlé</strong> <a href="http://www.nestle.com/media/newsandfeatures/nestle-food-security-oxfam-behind-the-brands" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>welcomed</strong> </a>their position at the top of our <a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en/company-scorecard" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Behind the Brands scorecard</strong> </a>and referred to their work with farmers: </p> <p><em>“By working cooperatively with more than 600,000 farmers that provide our raw materials, we are in a unique position to make a real impact.”</em></p> <p><strong>Mondelez's</strong> response included highlighting their Cocoa Life initiative:</p> <p><em>“Since October, we’ve committed $600 million over 10 years through our Cocoa Life and Coffee Made Happy initiatives to build sustainable supplies and thriving communities to benefit millions of people in the developing world.”</em></p> <h3>Fundamental change needed</h3> <p>The truth is, we know that all three of these companies have projects that seek to help farmers.  We also know that these projects have in some cases reached out successfully to women farmers and workers. But the projects the companies tout are piecemeal at best. What’s needed are fundamental changes to the policies that actually govern the way these companies do business.</p> <p>Together Mars, Mondelez and Nestle purchase<strong> nearly one third of the world’s harvested cocoa</strong>. They have the power to influence suppliers, governments, and certification bodies and they can influence policy shifts and practices in the sector.</p> <p>None of the three companies get good scores for their policies on women in our Behind the Brands scorecard, and Mars and Mondelez both get the lowest possible score, which means their policies on women are simply unfit for modern purpose.</p> <p>Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign sets out <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/policy/behind-brands" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>three clear steps</strong></a> for Mars, Mondelez and Nestle to comprehensively tackle the unfair treatment of women in their cocoa supply chains.</p> <p>The three companies have shown that they’re willing to make commitments on important issues such as sourcing certified cocoa. It’s now time for these chocolate giants to show the same leadership on womens’ rights.</p> <h3><a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en/campaign-news/the-truth-about-women-,-a-,-chocolate" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Add your voice to this action now.</a></h3> <p> </p> <p><strong>Want more detail? Check out the full report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/policy/behind-brands" rel="nofollow">Behind the Brands: Food justice and the ‘Big 10’ food and beverage companies</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Are women from Mars?</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-03-05-are-women-mars" title="El sabor amargo del cacao" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-03-05-les-femmes-viennent-elles-de-mars" title="Les femmes viennent-elles de Mars ?" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:43:14 +0000 Conor Costello 10230 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-03-01-are-women-from-mars#comments Day 9: Feminism and Food Sovereignty http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/feminism-and-food-sovereignty <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Food sovereignty offers opportunities to advance women’s rights, but we must also work to change gender relations within rural families and within our own movement. Peasant movements such as La Via Campesina must step up to the challenge of linking food sovereignty and feminism.</strong></em></p> <p>By <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/pamela-elisa-caro-molina"><strong>Pamela Elisa Caro Molina</strong></a>, feminist researcher working with CLOC-La Via Campesina</p> <p>Food sovereignty offers opportunities to advance women’s rights within the food system, but we must also work to restore gender relations within rural families and within our own movement. <strong>Food sovereignty is about to peoples’ right to decide what to produce.</strong> From a feminist perspective, we need to ask ourselves who has the power to exercise this right. Peasant movements such as <a href="http://viacampesina.org/en/" rel="nofollow"><strong>La Via Campesina</strong></a> must step up to the challenge of articulating food sovereignty and feminism.</p> <p>Food sovereignty is a proposed alternative to the neoliberal model of food production and consumption. The term was coined at a forum held alongside the <a href="http://www.fao.org/wfs/index_en.htm" rel="nofollow"><strong>1996 World Food Summit</strong></a>, the result of a collective people’s concept-building process, with many women participating from La Vía Campesina (LVC).</p> <p>Under the banner “food is not a matter of markets, but of sovereignty”, the movement defends people’s right to define their own agricultural policies and to organize the distribution, exchange and consumption of food according to the needs of families and rural communities, and other cultural, ethical and aesthetic factors, in sufficient quality and quantity.</p> <p>Food sovereignty involves protecting and regulating local production and trade with a view to sustainable rural development; to fostering organic farming practices; to promoting rural–urban alliances and fair trade; and to rejecting the privatization of land, biofuels, genetically modified crops, single-crop farming and agrochemicals.</p> <p>Food sovereignty offers opportunities to advance women’s rights within the food system, because it acknowledges the historic role they have played since the invention of farming in gathering and sowing seeds, and as protectors and guardians of biodiversity and genetic resources. Women provide moral, social and emotional support for food sovereignty, “creating bread and food out of nothing”.</p> <h3><em>"Biotechnology and intellectual property rights form gender barriers to the recognition of women within the food system."</em></h3> <p>Seeds are rural women’s greatest treasure. They are both the beginning and the end of the production cycle that reflects a people’s history. If seeds exist in diverse forms and circulate freely as a collective asset, they will guarantee an abundance of food. As a result, biotechnology and intellectual property rights form gender barriers to the recognition of women within the food system, preventing women from passing on their knowledge.</p> <p>As well as strengthening local banks of indigenous seeds and continuing to promote seed exchanges, one bold suggestion would be to symbolically and materially reward women who keep and reproduce seeds.</p> <p>From a feminist perspective, the agenda of recognizing women’s historic role is not enough. We must also attempt to restore gender relations within families and our own movement, as well as re-evaluate the economic and productive nature of reproduction and food, questioning the organizational structure of the economic system based on the idea that reproduction and production are not autonomous.</p> <p>Women are beginning to assess their own personal contribution to the agricultural economy. Naturalization, invisibilization and discrimination are still taking place. One challenge for these movements is to assume that “the personal is political”, moving from “class to gender” and recognizing rural women as economic actors and political subjects with individual rights, not just holders of collective rights as a social category.</p> <p>Food sovereignty involves wholesale agricultural reform. This process must be a bold one, however, involving equality, ensuring that women are fully entitled to access and control land, fishing areas and grazing migration routes, and that indigenous people have land rights. Concrete suggestions include revising farmers’ understanding of collective and community land ownership and ensuring that land is divided fairly between the men and women who work it, including individual and joint ownership.</p> <p>Food sovereignty appeals to people’s right to decide what to produce. From a feminist point of view, we should ask ourselves how the power is divided in the exercising of this right. Concrete advances in gender emancipation will take place if decision making is egalitarian, ensuring internal democracy within families, communities and organizations.</p> <p>More specifically, we should aim to create fair decision-making bodies and help women not to feel afraid to make decisions by boosting their self-esteem, thereby promoting access to better education and training them in lobbying.</p> <p>We are currently faced with both opportunities and risks, which the movements need to come to terms with. The re-evaluation of historic social roles, such as the role of food provider, runs the risk of being limited to a mere symbolic recognition, which could even reinforce the traditional patriarchal gender division of work.</p> <p>Another risk is that of reinforcing a self-satisfied discourse of victimization, based on women’s excessive responsibilities and greater burden of work (both productive and reproductive), including the provision of care.</p> <h3><em>"We are missing opportunities to take advantage of the awakening of women's consciousness."</em></h3> <p>Opportunities are being missed to take advantage of the awakening of female consciousness and women’s leadership in movements such as LVC to question politically the patriarchal organizational structure of the economy, starting with the rural family unit.</p> <p>The <a href="http://movimientos.org/cloc/show_text.php3?key=17408" rel="nofollow"><strong>organizations</strong></a> themselves are aware that when they point out that the recognition of women’s historic contribution should result in proposals for gender equality, the patriarchal system of relations broadly continues to be established within rural daily life, making male domination an ongoing tie (Brasilia declaration by social organizations, social movements and NGOs on voluntary guidelines for ownership of land and natural resources. Page 3).</p> <p>Articulating food sovereignty and feminism is therefore the unavoidable challenge facing social movements such as LVC. It requires them to review their focuses and strategies with a view to making advances in gender equality and the empowerment of women. The strategies that should be reinforced are to continue claiming social assets and productive resources (land, water, equipment, machinery, storage centres), but also to promote genuine participation, autonomy and sovereignty for women in all areas: the economy, politics, and even sexuality, calling on women to uphold the “sovereignty of the land of their bodies” by saying ‘no’ to gender violence.</p> <p>Concrete suggestions include fostering the balanced participation of men and women in all stages of the production and distribution of food, setting up alert systems when, for cultural reasons, activities that are carried out mainly by women (such as seed reproduction) are undervalued and, by contrast, the public activities that tend to involve men more (such as selling) are overvalued. Another suggestion is to promote women taking control of the entire economic and production chain, all the way up to selling their produce at markets, with income for individual women to help to support their autonomy.</p> <p>Food-related chores should be the responsibility of everyone, not just of women as part of the gender mandate. For LVC, this should involve politicizing private food-preparation spaces, incorporating a “behind closed doors” debate into families’ and couples’ lives and questioning the unfair traditional organizational structure of rural families.</p> <h3><em>"The movement should publicly denounce gender inequalities in society, families and in social organizations."</em></h3> <p><em></em>The challenges facing the movement include publicly denouncing gender inequalities in society, families and social organizations, as well as promoting practical models of agrofood production that involve equal work and equal rest, like a horizontal, cooperative employer–employee relationship, with no privileges for men or gender-based hierarchies.</p> <p>Since these changes are not “by decree”, the platform must generate awareness-raising processes that seek to denaturalize certain behaviours and eliminate patriarchal views that subtly infiltrate the consciousness, with the understanding that the invisible destiny of women is a social and therefore removable phenomenon, and that gender equity involves both interchangeability and reciprocity.</p> <p>These daily spaces for reflection in rural life can take place at a social gathering, around the stove, at a party or even at a football match. It is also a good idea to hold workshops with children and teenagers, as well as using local media to promote the message of equality.</p> <p>La Via Campesina’s female leaders in Latin America have held a number of food sovereignty campaigns, which have caused tensions among male leaders, who have spent years in public leadership roles. In the process of strengthening leadership positions in order to challenge imbalances of power, it is essential to promote alliances with non-rural feminist movements, which can provide training, arguments and strategies for tackling the conflicts that arise out of change, helping to make the process of gender equality a sustainable one. </p> <p>Download: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Pamela-Caro_Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>Food Sovereignty and Gender Equality</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 9: Feminism and Food Sovereignty</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/feminisme-et-souverainete-alimentaire" title="Jour 9: Féminisme et souveraineté alimentaire" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/feminismo-y-soberania-alimentaria" title="Día 9: Feminismo y soberania alimentaria" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 00:10:00 +0000 Pamela Elisa Caro Molina 10086 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/feminism-and-food-sovereignty#comments Day 9: Nutrition Policies that Work for Women http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/nutrition-policies-that-work-for-women <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>Almost everywhere and across all age-groups, female nutrition indicators are worse than those of their male counterparts. Gender differences in access to food obviously reflect socio-cultural reali-ties, but are often reinforced by public policies that are either gender-blind or downright discrimina-tory.</em></strong></p> <p>By <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/jayati-ghosh"><strong>Jayati Ghosh</strong></a>, feminist, economist and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University</p> <p>Almost everywhere and across all age-groups, <strong>female nutrition indicators are worse than those of their male counterparts</strong>. In the developing world this is much more evident, particularly in much of South Asia and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, where malnutrition (especially under nutrition) has grown worse in the recent past.</p> <h3><em> "Across much of the world, women are now the main producers of food."</em></h3> <p>Sadly, this has ceased to surprise us, so used have we become to gender inequities in different spheres. But surprise us it should, because across much of the world, women are now the main producers of food: as members of farming households, engaged in recognized or unrecognized work, in cultivation and as agricultural labourers. Despite this, structural features of food cultivation and distribution – aggravated by the shift to more corporate activity – continue to generate gender imbalances that may have become more severe.</p> <p>Consider the case of India, which has the worst nutrition indicators among all the larger countries in the world, and certainly the largest number of hungry people. Gender differences in food access obviously reflect socio-cultural realities. In many parts of the country women and girls within households received less food and worse quality food not just because of overt discrimination but also because of self-deprivation in conditions of household scarcity. But these social factors are unfortunately reinforced by public policies that are either gender-blind or downright discriminatory in how they treat women in the food system overall.</p> <p>To start with, despite the importance of women in food cultivation, women are scarcely recognized as farmers. Because they rarely have land titles in their own names, they are denied access to institutional credit, to public agricultural extension services and inputs, and even to marketing channels. This increases their costs substantially and obliges many of them to stick to increasingly insecure subsistence farming. Policies directed towards farmers have to move away from identification based on land titles, towards recognizing all those who are involved in cultivation.</p> <p>In any case farmers – including women cultivators – are being squeezed by the rising cost of inputs, reduction of subsidies that add to costs, and reduced public investment in rural areas, even as they are being asked to compete with subsidized imports. The same forces affect the demand for agricultural labour, an area where women are also heavily involved. Further, the livelihood crisis of the farming community has disproportionate adverse effects on women and girls, given the existing gender inequalities in society. Policies towards agriculture should be specifically oriented towards small holders, and cover the entire range of issues including irrigation and access to water; agricultural research and extension; access to affordable institutional credit; access to relevant and sustainable inputs; and access to stable markets for selling the output. In each of these, special care has to be taken to reach women farmers, who tend to be excluded from benefits because of economic and cultural constraints.</p> <h3>"<em>Policies directed towards farmers have to recognize all those who are involved in cultivation."</em></h3> <p>The recent increase in food prices, which reflects broader global forces as well as India’s own failure in proper food management, has had a massive effect on access to food for the majority of Indian households, and a disproportionate effect on females within households. One obvious way to address this would be to expand, enlarge and increase the efficiency and transparency of the public distribution system for food that provides grain and other basic food items at subsidised prices. There is already strong evidence that some states that have done this – such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and recently Chhattisgarh – have been able to offset at least some of the adverse impact of rising food prices and ensure better nutrition for women.</p> <p>But India’s national policy has been quite the opposite, seeking to limit and reduce the spread and coverage of the public distribution system in the name of reducing food subsidies. There is even talk of replacing the direct provision of food with cash transfers directly to households in order to reduce public costs and “leakage”. This strategy is correctly opposed by most poor women, who realize that cash can be spent in all sorts of ways, not necessarily on food, and that internal power equations within families means that women’s and girls’ nutrition is likely to suffer as a consequence. Instead, the distribution network has to be made more efficient and accountable, via a combination of technology and social mobilization to ensure better delivery.</p> <h3><em>"Gender imbalances in nutrition can be alleviated or addressed by public policy."</em></h3> <p>Some public programmes have the potential to deal with at least some gender imbalances, but they need to be implemented in different ways. For example, the school meals programme has been a success not just in raising school attendance but in providing some nutrition to school-going children – but it is underfunded. And now there are attempts to substitute healthy cooked meals in schools with fortified “biscuits” that will increase corporate profits rather than provide employment to local women.</p> <p>Another very large programme for mothers and infant children – the Integrated Child Development Scheme – seeks to provide some nutrition and related health services to pregnant and lactating mothers and infants up to the age of three years. But like so many Indian government schemes of the past decade, it seeks to provide such services on the cheap, relying on the underpaid labour of women who do not even get the minimum wage in return for performing a huge number and variety of tasks.</p> <p>The moral of this Indian story is that gender imbalances in nutrition, even though they are driven by systemic inequities in the gender construction of society, can be alleviated or addressed by public policy. But for that, public policy itself must be made more gender sensitive, rather than relying on and accentuating existing forms of gender discrimination. A gender sensitive system would offer:</p> <ul><li>more recognition of women farmers and more facilities for women farmers, along with policies to make smallholder farming profitable, including access to institutional credit (rather than simply microcredit), access to technology and inputs, and access to more stable markets;</li> <li>more efficient and accountable public distribution systems and other measures that make affordable food accessible to all, including women and girls, which in turn requires different forms of state intervention in essential food markets; </li> <li>more spending and increases in coverage and quality of public services in nutrition, health and sanitation that provide well paid and decent work for women as well as men, and that avoid trying to base public service delivery on the underpaid labour of women; and</li> <li>controls on corporate power in food systems to maintain and increase the earnings of farmers and to prevent consumption patterns from being altered in unhealthy ways.</li> </ul><p>Over the past two decades, agriculture (and particularly small holder agriculture) has been hugely neglected in public policy discourse the world over. And food distribution has been handed over to market forces that are reinforcing and accentuating discrimination and malnutrition. The women’s movement should urgently take up this agenda – not only to improve the lot of women but to build more equitable, viable and sustainable economies and societies in general.</p> <p>Download: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Jayati-Ghosh_Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>Nutrition Policies that Work for Women</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 9: Nutrition Policies that Work for Women</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/pol%C3%ADticas-nutricionales-que-funcionen" title="Día 9: Políticas nutricionales que funcionen para las mujeres" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/rendre-les-politiques-nutritionnelles-favorables" title="Jour 9: Rendre les politiques nutritionnelles favorables aux femmes" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 00:00:01 +0000 Jayati Ghosh 10081 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/nutrition-policies-that-work-for-women#comments Day 8: On the Virtues of Discrimination http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/virtues-of-discrimination <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>All things being equal, countries benefit from more open trade. But all things are not equal. For women, the context is almost always one of inequality. To protect and advance women’s rights, it’s time for trade negotiators to start discriminating.</strong></em></p> <p>By <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/user/profile/sophia-murphy"><strong>Sophia Murphy</strong></a>, senior advisor to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy</p> <p>Non-discrimination has been one of the core principles of the multilateral trading system since 1947. It means that if two countries are <a href="http://www.wto.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>World Trade Organization</strong></a> (WTO) members and agree to trade with one another on a given set of terms, they must offer those same terms to every other WTO member.</p> <p>As far as it goes, it’s a good principle. All things equal, all countries benefit from more open trade, and the more a country opens its borders, the more wealth its economy generates.</p> <h3><em>"All things are not equal—and who knows that better than women?"</em></h3> <p>But here’s the rub: all things are not equal—and who knows that better than women? The world is not a blank slate, created anew each time a trade agreement is signed. The context in which a trade agreement comes into force does not just matter; it is more or less the whole story. For most women just about everywhere, the context is one of cultural, political and economic inequality.</p> <p>International trade and investment in agriculture has created new sectors in which women dominate the workforce. <a href="http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/About_ITC/Where_are_we_working/Multi-country_programmes/Women_and_trade/women%20in%20trade%20-%20can%20they%20lead%20the%20way%20out%20of%20the%20global%20financial%20crisis.pdf" rel="nofollow"><strong>For example</strong></a>, 80 per cent of workers in Uganda’s cut-flower industry are women, as are 80 per cent of the workers in Thailand’s production and packaging of fruit for export. Important questions remain about the quality of these jobs, but there is no doubt that international trade and investment has created new opportunities for women, many of them trapped by economic dependence in their traditional cultures and glad to have the chance to earn an independent living.</p> <p>Women farmers I met from Burkina Faso in 2006 made a joke of it: “If you come to see our fields, we’ll have to invent a cover story. Should the men see a European interested, they might find out how much money our cut flowers sell for, and then they’ll take over.”</p> <p>Yet women are at a disadvantage to men in the face of globalization.</p> <p>The liberalization of global trade and the deregulation of international investments have tended to favour those with more cash (usually men), more education (usually men), and control of productive assets (men, again). And they have tended to disfavour people with greater responsibility for dependents (usually women), with few or no productive assets (more often women), and those without legal or political protections (again, women).</p> <p>The new opportunities women have found through globalization tend to be in sectors where barriers to entry, and thus returns, are low.</p> <h3><em>"The assumption that all things are equal exacerbates existing inequalities."</em></h3> <p>You could say the dominant model of global trade and investment produces discriminatory results through its failure to discriminate. The assumption that all things are equal exacerbates existing inequalities.</p> <p>The Green Revolution that swept Asian and Latin American agriculture in the 1960s and 1970s illustrates the problem. The technologies introduced by the Green Revolution worked best for farmers with relatively larger land holdings, greater capital reserves and a higher educational base (far more men than women). By and large, the scientists and extension workers involved in the Green Revolution (again, most of them men) were blind to the contribution that women made to agriculture, reflecting the inherent sexism of their education and culture.</p> <p>In consequence, the Green Revolution tended to marginalize women in agriculture. It ignored women’s traditional knowledge of seeds, cultivation and marketing; it exposed the millions of women who worked as agricultural labourers to pesticides and herbicides that damaged their health and that of their children; and it worked against their economic interests by increasing the importance of cash in the agricultural household at the expense of non-cash transactions.</p> <p>In most cultures, cash is predominantly a male not a female realm. The need for cash creates a need for credit and therefore for collateral—which means ownership of productive assets, such as land, becomes important. Again, men are much more likely to own these assets.</p> <p>The donor community has recently acknowledged the fact of women’s inequality in agriculture. The 2007–2008 food price crisis seems to have focused donors’ attention, and they are now promising to make good on their neglect. Increased aid to women farmers could do a lot to improve women’s ability to engage in and benefit from international trade and investment.</p> <h3><em>"Rarely do donors talk about women’s rights, or the importance of investment in women for women’s sake.</em>"</h3> <p>Yet much of the motivation is openly instrumental, justified on the grounds that investment in women will lead to faster growth levels and higher total agricultural output. Rarely do donors talk about women’s rights, or the importance of investment in women for women’s sake. If donors only look to raise agricultural productivity, they will fail to reduce gender-based inequity. They may even exacerbate it, as happened during the Green Revolution.</p> <p>Donors need to be part of a comprehensive agricultural strategy that is deliberate about addressing women’s needs and interests at many levels. For women to succeed as producers and as traders, governments need to free women from the time they spend on reproductive care by investing in child and elder care and in affordable, accessible and clean energy. Women need to have control of their fertility. Governments have to invest in secure roads and decent communication networks, not only to allow goods to get to market, but for women to be able to move around in safety. Girls need to be educated; the whole household needs access to affordable, good quality healthcare.</p> <p>Women need legal protection, too, to be able to benefit from new economic opportunities. Women need the legal right to equal pay for equal work. They need to be able to protect their claims to productive assets, not least with the support of equitable inheritance and marriage laws.</p> <p>And to engage economically, women need a political voice—in their communities, and in municipal, state and national government.</p> <p>Governments (and donors) need to exercise discrimination. Public procurement rules should insist the companies receiving public funding have explicit policies to promote women’s rights. This might include a demonstrated commitment to working with women producers and women’s co-operatives, sourcing a minimum amount of product from women, or working with a minimum number of women processors or traders. Foreign investors, too, should have to demonstrate how their investments would provide meaningful opportunities for women.</p> <p>If women are to benefit from trade and investment, governments have to redefine what counts as a benefit in the first place. Is a rise in GDP or an increase in trade flows enough? No. Governments need to be more discriminating, looking for benefits such as better wages in the poorest paid sectors, or greater employment opportunities for women.</p> <p>To discriminate, governments need more information. Gender-disaggregated data remains all too rare. New indices, such as <a href="http://www.socialwatch.org/taxonomy/term/527" rel="nofollow"><strong>Social Watch’s Gender Equity Index</strong></a>, can shed light on women’s reality: the economic value of women’s reproductive work in the household; gender differences in access to and conditions of employment, levels of education, access to credit and finance, access to contraception and family planning; and more.</p> <p>There are many good reasons to aim for simplicity in international trade and investment agreements. Non-discrimination has the virtue of simplicity. But it fails to satisfy the larger need for multilateral rules that reduce inequalities and protect and promote human rights, including women’s rights.</p> <p>It’s time for trade negotiators to start discriminating. </p> <p>Download: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/Sophia-Murphy_Oxfam-online-discussion.pdf"><strong>On the Virtues of Discrimination</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 8: On the Virtues of Discrimination</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/las-virtudes-de-la-discriminaci%C3%B3n" title="Día 8: Las virtudes de la discriminación" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/les-vertus-de-la-discrimination" title="Jour 8: Les vertus de la discrimination" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 00:00:01 +0000 Sophia Murphy 10076 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/virtues-of-discrimination#comments