Women’s rights and food security are issues that are inextricably linked. In this sense, it is said that empowering women is the key to achieving food security. Discuss.
- Introduce by briefly highlighting the correlation linkages between women’s rights and food security
- Elaborate the need to consider the gender aspect of food security
- Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
Women play important roles as producers of food, managers of natural resources, income earners, and caretakers of household food and nutrition security. However, widespread discrimination against women and girls – socially, culturally and legally – results in lower agricultural productivity and poorer health and nutrition, especially among women and girls, who make up 60 percent of undernourished people worldwide.
The gender aspect of food security:
- People’s overall access to food depends to a great extent on the work of rural women.
- On an average, women provide 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries.
- Women are involved in variety of agricultural activities like crops, livestock and fish farming.
- Poor households headed by women often succeed in providing more nutritional food for their children than those headed by men.
- There is strong correlation between a higher level of gender equality and lower level of child mortality.
- Nutrition received by women during pregnancy and the first 24 months of a child’s life has significant bearing on a child’s development.
- Women’s resilience to climate change is also not adequate. Discrimination of women and girls get reinforced and occurrences of domestic violence increases during times of food scarcity.
Need to consider this aspect in planning and policy:
- Hence, it is crucial to include them in emergency related food security planning and decision making as potential change agents and decision makers, rather than portraying them as victims.
- Gender dynamics within households must be taken into account in situations of displacement when food aid and other relief items are distributed.
- By giving women greater control over water and food distribution, power dynamics can greatly be shifted in the favour of women.
Neither strong economic growth nor increased food availability per capita are sufficient to reduce hunger, and especially child malnutrition, unless we integrate the gender dimension to food security. Food security strategies must also be developed to improve women’s access to childcare, farmer support mechanisms, and credit and agricultural services.
Subjects : Current Affairs