Women’s Empowerment in the Context of Food security and Nutrition
Despite assuming significant roles and responsibilities, in food systems, women continue to face a systemic disadvantage in accessing productive resources, services, and information (GEWE Scoping Paper, 2020).
Meeting SDG2 (Zero Hunger) and SGD5 (Gender Equality) requires transformative approaches by all actors, and the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) identified gender as a cross-cutting lever of change that has the potential to deliver wide-ranging positive change and is relevant across all of the SDGs in addition to being critical to the transformation of food systems in the coming decade.
Advancing gender equality for food security and nutrition continues to gain momentum within the United Nations System and there is a growing consensus around the need for transformative approaches. At the 47th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS47), the Terms of Reference for the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment (GEWGE VGs) were adopted, paving way for the process of identifying the most significant issues to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of food security and nutrition. The final version of the VGs is set to be adopted at CFS 50 in October 2022.
The PSM is committed to the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and is actively engaged in the process of preparing the guidelines, using our experiences, best practices, and innovations to inform and empower the guidelines. We presented our position paper which outlines our viewpoint on the subject, including:
Promotion of the adoption and implementation of policies that ensure legal equality for women, including rights to land and other productive resources.
Encouraging women’s capacity to organize themselves and foster women leaders.
Providing access to proper maternal health services for women and focus particularly on nutrition for the first 1000 days of mother and child.
Encouraging investors, donors, and governments to focus on supporting women smallholder farmers.
Education programs should make specific reference to the needs of women, including rural women.
Gender-sensitive approaches to increase access to agricultural extension services.
Access to banking services.
Supporting co-operatives and other enterprises.
Educational goals for orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries.
In addition to these viewpoints, which were included in the draft guidelines, PSM has provided inputs into subsequent drafts, online consultations, participated in Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) meetings and in negotiations. On April 7, PSM organized a Gender Roundtable under the topic Business accelerating gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment in food systems. The roundtable brought together 120 representatives of Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, academia, and private sector to discuss and showcase business commitments and initiatives that are accelerating action for gender equality under the themes of leadership, entrepreneurship and nutrition. The outcomes of the roundtable went to further strengthen private sector inputs into the negotiations.
The PSM continues to value the multi-stakeholder process which will ensure ownership and greater uptake of the final product.