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“Women in Agriculture: a Voice and Vision for Food Security” Alexandra Spieldoch Human Rights Council 16 th Session March 9, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "“Women in Agriculture: a Voice and Vision for Food Security” Alexandra Spieldoch Human Rights Council 16 th Session March 9, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Women in Agriculture: a Voice and Vision for Food Security” Alexandra Spieldoch Human Rights Council 16 th Session March 9, 2011

2 "People often ask: What can be done to defeat hunger? My answer is simple: empower women, because women are the secret weapon to fight hunger." -- Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP). Josette Sheeran, Executive Director

3 Overview of WOCAN Women-led INGO –over 700 professional women in 93 countries; country associates; coordinators Training and capacity building for rural women’s leadership Mainstreaming gender for organizational change in agriculture and NRM New markets for rural women women Advocacy for policy change at regional and global level

4 Women Bear the Burden Food Water Fuel Household Healthcare Education

5 Ongoing challenges Poverty and unemployment Lack of voice, resources and access to markets Policy takers, not policy makers Overall discrimination within development

6 What are rural women saying? WOCAN - Huairou – FAO Partnership in preparation for UN CSW – 54 Beijing + 15  Consultation with grassroots women in Africa, Asia and Latin America on food security concerns and coping strategies  24 organizations in 23 countries

7 Africa, Asia and Latin America Over 656 grassroots women and men in nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa participated in 28 focus group discussions – Oct 2009- January 2010. In Asia, Bangladesh (hosted by Participatory Development Action Project); The Philippines (hosted by the Asian Farmers’ Association); Pakistan (hosted by the NGO Himawanti), Nepal (hosted by Lumanti);Two regions of India (Swayam Shikshan Prayog in Maharashtra and Covenant Center for Development in Tamil Nadu). In Latin America, Nine organizations: Jamaica; Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador

8 Women’s Perceptions More time spent trying to find markets Employment constraints Low purchasing power and increase in debt in the midst of crisis Breakdown of social structures Negative impacts of climate change Agricultural trade not benefiting the rural women

9 Women’s resiliency Survival strategies include traditional knowledge, water harvesting, crop diversification, collective farming, seed saving, food banks and food reserves as well as training on agricultural techniques and crop management.  Women’s cooperatives and Self-help groups (Nepal and Brazil)

10 Network of Women Ministers and Leaders in Agriculture 1.Improving food and agricultural policy, programs and resource flows to invest in rural women 2.A space for collective action 3.Leadership broadly defined 4.Strengthened advocacy

11 NWMLA Meeting at World Food Summit 2009

12 Developing advocacy Mapping of leaders Mapping of strategic processes Mapping of legal frameworks (CEDAW, BPFA, ICAARD, Africa Protocol on Women’s Rights) Identifying best practices Developing an advocacy platform/s for global and regional food security strategies Multi-stakeholder dialogues

13 Investing in Women Information that makes rural women’s contribution visible : data collection and knowledge sharing Investment in programs that are designed and implemented to prioritize their needs: earmarked budgets; risk management, food stocks)

14 Agro-ecology integrated, diversified farming, organic farming, bio-composting, use of local and select seeds, herbal pesticides, crop diversification, terracing, systematic crop intensification, and community based irrigation

15 People-centered approaches Comprehensive strategies for empowerment Voice and participation – rural women as agents of change: examples: IFAD Farmers’ Forum 2010 “As long as women are seen as submissive and restricted to the role of recipient and beneficiary, agriculture will continue to have a large gap… When women sit at the table, the process takes a different shape.” Neriede Segala Coelho, a grassroots leader, and a farmer from Brazil.

16 Science, Technology and Innovation Women Scientists – example: AWARD through CGIAR Gender and Diversity Program Support for women’s traditional knowledge and organic farming Participatory seed selection Women in Business

17 Agriculture is the vehicle for women – given the necessary support and resources women can drive the process of development to a higher level.”-- Linda Nghatsane, Farmers Union of South Africa and member of Women in Agriculture and Rural Development (WARD) led by the Congress of Rural Women in Durban, speaking at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-17) meeting on May 10, 2009.

18 We have talked about the need to empower women and to strive for gender equality for far too long. It is still possible for us to act. Hopefully the time is now. Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Liberia, speaking at 2010 ECOSOC Substantive Session High-Level Segment on June 28, 2010.


20 “Women in Agriculture: Investment, Leadership, and Human Rights” Alexandra Spieldoch Human Rights Council 16 th Session March 9, 2011

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