At the World Food Summit in Rome this week, experts emphasized the critical role of women in mitigating world hunger. In most developing countries, women produce 80 percent of basic foodstuffs—including those for consumption as well as sale. For example, women in Africa perform 80 percent of the farm work and women in agriculture represent nearly 80 percent of economically active women in India. “Without women, the target we set in 1996 to halve world hunger by 2015 will not only remain elusive, it will become absolutely impossible to attain,” said Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Director General Jacques Diouf, whose group organized the summit.
According to Vandana Shiva, a member of India’s Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, “There is a blindness in the world’s approach to tackling hunger and it is a blindness that ignores the third world’s knowledge, ignores indigenous knowledge and ignores the knowledge of women.” Though women are essential to food production in the developing world, they continue to face discrimination and prohibitive gender inequalities. For example, women own only 1 percent of all land in developing countries.
FAO Director of Gender and Population Division Sissel Ekaas told Summit attendees that the organization last winter approved a new gender and development plan of action for the next five years. The plan calls for gender equality in access to food, resources, agricultural services, employment, and agricultural policymaking. Swedish Agriculture Minister Margareta Winberg was among several speakers who urged countries to utilize CEDAW, the UN’s international treaty for women’s rights, in improving conditions and access for women in rural areas. “The leaders of the world are starting to see the crucial role women can play if they are allowed to do it,” she said. “But there’s a long way to go. A very long way to go.”
Media Resources: Reuters Health 6/12/02; UN Wire 6/13/02; World Food Summit online 6/13/02
6/18/2013 Supreme Court Strikes Down Proof of Citizenship Voter Requirements - On Monday, the United States Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law requiring voters to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed register to vote.
In an opinion written [PDF] by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court ruled that the Arizona statute violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA, also known as the "Motor Voter Law") of 1993, which created a federal form that individuals can mail in to register to vote in federal elections. . . .
6/18/2013 Pakistani Women's University Bus, Hospital Bombed - A bus for a women's university in Pakistan and the hospital that treated victims from the blast were bombed on Saturday, killing 14 students and 24 others at the hospital.
The bus was transporting female students and teachers from Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University in Quetta, located in the southwestern part of Pakistan. . . .
6/18/2013 Taliban Attack In Afghan Capital As NATO Transfers Power - Yesterday, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) transferred responsibility for the country's security forces to the Afghan government after a bomb blast targeting a political official left three civilians dead in Kabul. . . .