Women and food sovereignty
Illustration, Anna Loveday-Brow
What is the necessary strategy to change the situation of women around the world?
Some feminists think that women’s distinctive characteristics, which are made invisible and/or considered inferior by a male chauvinistic and patriarchal society, should be recognized. Others claim that it is necessary to fight for wealth redistribution between men and women, thus overcoming the causes of inequality resulting from sexual division of labor and power. But many feminists have already realized that this is a false dilemma. In order to move forward it is necessary to coordinate the seemingly contradictory actions of recognition and distribution. The principle of Food Sovereignty increasingly recognizes women’s contribution in food production: from agriculture to preparing food for their families or school cafeterias and other community facilities.
It also contemplates the need to equally distribute land and the conditions of production between men and women. It is necessary to take a step forward and recognize the need to redistribute the work done by women to take care of the family – even preparing food- among all the members of the family living together. Rural and urban women and girls around the world work more hours than men, considering the number of hours dedicated to paid work and to housework taken together. They are the first ones to get up and the last ones to go to bed. Enjoying Food Sovereignty means changing both the food production and consumption model. This implies having time to cook, eat and share as well as having time for themselves. This change cannot be based on the increasing work of women. In order to have more time, we neither need fast-food nor canned food, but we do need public policies that support reproduction, such as food in schools and popular restaurants and… distributing work among all!
Miriam Nobre, Coordinator of the International Secretariat of the World March of Women