Dear Friends and Colleagues
Agroecology: A Fundamental Pathway for the Advancement of Women’s Rights
Women represent around 43% of the agriculture labor force. Despite their key role in productive and reproductive spheres of life, women face gender discrimination and a host of social, legal and cultural constraints. A paper produced by the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for Relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) demonstrates that the role of women is of particular importance in the advancement of agroecology, as a key pillar of food sovereignty, and that there are inextricable linkages between the struggles for feminism and agroecology (“Without Feminism, There is No Agroecology”, https://www.righttofoodandnutrition.org/files/rtfn-watch11-2019_eng-42-50.pdf).
The paper puts forward that food sovereignty and agroecology offer powerful alternatives to the unequal and gendered power relations in rural and urban communities and are themselves tools and pathways to overcoming the oppressive structures in which women are embedded. Only through the paradigm of food sovereignty and agroecology will women be able to achieve recognition and validation of their productive work and care; guarantee food for all; socialize the tasks of care; retake collective responsibilities without distinction of gender; and promote relations of respect and equality among all people regardless of gender.
Agroecology can create better opportunities for women on multiple levels: (1) provide diversiﬁed role for women in the household economy; (2) create women-only spaces, which are critical for gender equality and women’s self-determination; (3) foster better economic opportunities for women; (4) eliminate the impact of harmful synthetic chemicals on women’s health; (5) affirm women as traditional keepers of seeds and indigenous knowledge; (6) entail the production of food that nourishes the home; and (7) achieve a more just food system.
From a feminist perspective, agroecology is and must be a political proposal that recognizes and promotes the historical and social practices of women. Agroecological practices and policies without the participation of women as central protagonist is not an option. The CSM working Group on Women propose the fulﬁlment of the following actions by States in order to support women’s struggle for their right to food, autonomy and complete integration in decision-making at all levels:
With best wishes,