- The Women and Gender Diversity Working Group of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) issued a statement calling on member states of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to pursue agreement on leading guidelines on gender equality in the context of food security and nutrition.
- The statement calls for a comprehensive and inclusive voluntary guidance process for the CFS with the support of specialists on a wide range of intersecting issues that prevent the realization of the right to food.
November 24, 2022, Rome, Italy. Globally, the prevalence of food insecurity is higher among women than among men. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently warned that nearly 32 percent of women in the world are moderately or severely food insecure, compared to 27.6 percent of men in 2021. One of the most important reasons for this growing gap is related to by sex. and gender-based violence.
We have shown how violence is still part of our daily lives. We have shown how it intersects with other forms of oppression, preventing us from accessing natural resources, producing food and obtaining it with dignity.” Expresses the statement issued by the Women and Gender Diversity Working Group (WGD WG) at CSIPM
Gender-based violence (GVB) has severe and negative consequences for victims, survivors, their families and communities, and has a devastating impact on agricultural productivity, food security and nutrition (FAO, 2017). Violence can manifest itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms. Gloren Das, co-coordinator of the working group, the Asian Rural Women’s Alliance, recently described an emerging form of abuse that sees women denied food in the workplace, followed by forced confinement, non-payment of wages, and excessively long working hours. .
Like the case of Suri, the fictitious name of an Indonesian domestic worker, she was rescued and hospitalized last year for severe weight loss. Her employer only fed her instant noodles three times a day, and sometimes she received rice and bread, or no food at all. According to Glorin, there are at least 67 million domestic workers worldwide, and many of them are in the same situation.
The negative effects of gender-based violence increase poverty, thus creating a self-reinforcing cycle of underdevelopment, poverty and violence (UN General Assembly, 2006). Moreover, as it predominantly affects women and girls of productive ages (15-45), gender-based violence perpetuates gender inequality, and thus hinders progress in reducing poverty (FAO, 2017).
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted the formulation of new laws and strategies to realize the human rights of women and LGBTI people, and in some cases, has reversed many of the hard-won gains of the past decades. Certification was also received through the CSIPM regional consultations by Leonida Odongo, from Kenya. Haki Noiri and the CSIPM Women and Gender Diversity Working Group:
Increased cases of gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls, have also been recorded. For girls, this led to teenage pregnancies, some of these children had not yet returned to school, others were married off, especially those who had been impregnated by relatives (incest is taboo in most African societies). The closure of the markets increased women’s dependence on the man within the family, and the markets were a source of income for women engaged in petty trade. The markets are closed. With the closure of physical courts and shift to virtual courts, many people have not been able to access justice due to postponement, and women have had to stay in the same family with their abusers which makes them even more vulnerable.”
The World Health Organization found that one in three women globally will experience intimate partner violence or sexual violence in their lifetime. The same study found that in some crisis settings, gender-based violence affects more than 70 percent of women (WHO, 2013). It is time for ambitious global guidelines and legal frameworks that can effectively end violence, discrimination and all forms of injustice against women and girls and people of all genders, in the context of food and nutrition security, as well as in the context of conflicts and military occupation of lands.
“Those who live in occupation face a variety of problems, such as forced displacement, which enables them to obtain a source of income, and women always face the greatest difficulties, for example, in Palestine they cannot access agricultural land.” Souad Mahmoud, of the International Women’s March.
This year, the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), presented an excellent opportunity to develop such a pioneering and politically long-sighted tool. To be the inclusive multilateral space for all to address food and nutrition insecurity. It is the only body that prioritizes a human rights approach and includes a mechanism – CSIPM – to facilitate the participation of those most affected by hunger. Throughout 2022, negotiations and discussions took place in the CFS with the aim of developing and adopting the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls (GEWGE). However, the process was hampered by the coalition of countries during the third round of negotiations, which hindered its official ratification. Ratification is likely to take place in October 2023, at the 51st plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security.
Past experience demonstrates that guidelines and policy tools such as these can provide governments with best practices, lessons learned and vetted approaches to regional, national and local policies.
“We believe that a true commitment to gender equality does not sidestep divergent positions, but rather promotes discussion around the issues at hand, and takes into account the evidence available. CFS needs to be fully understood and addressed. This is a prerequisite for CSIPM to continue the process of policy convergence,” CSIPM’s Women and Gender Diversity Working Group says in a statement that has so far collected signatures from more than 450 organizations and individuals around the world. One way to continue the policy formulation process in an inclusive manner would be for the Committee on World Food Security to organize special thematic sessions in which experts would present evidence to inform discussions and next steps.
On November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Working Group is calling on the CFS and all participating member states and actors to intensify their commitment by pursuing agreement on a set of voluntary guidelines that truly address structural injustices. and the historical power asymmetry that prevents women, girls and heterogeneous people from realizing their human rights both within and outside food systems.
Read and sign the statement here
- How can food security interventions contribute to reducing gender-based violence? Case Brief, FAO: https://www.fao.org/3/i7768e/i7768e.pdf
- Gender-based violence and food insecurity: what we know and why gender equality is the answer. CARE. https://www.care.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/GBV-food-security-brief_EN.pdf
- FAO Report 2022. https://www.fao.org/3/cc0639en/cc0639en.pdf
- United Nations General Assembly. 2006. An In-Depth Study of All Forms of Violence Against Women, Report of the Secretary-General. United Nations document. A/61/122.Add.1 of 6 July 2006.
- World Health Organization (WHO). 2013. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health implications of intimate partner and non-partner sexual violence. Available at:
Marion Gerard Cisneros [email protected]
Betsy Diaz [email protected]g