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Food and the gender gap

Ending food insecurity will remain a dream unless we close agriculture gender gap, says Fairtrade
Food and the gender gap. Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

Trade will never be truly fair as long as women continue to be disproportionately trapped in poverty and underrepresented in global agriculture and business, the Fairtrade Foundation warned, following the release of a new Fairtrade global gender strategy on International Women’s Day (8 March 2016).

The Gender Pay Gap Sale – 13.9% discount at Oxfam’s Online Shop to mark International Women’s Day

Hunger and the gender gap

While women make up nearly half the agricultural workforce, and often play a vital role in value addition of crops, they remain excluded from land ownerships, are lower paid and struggle for fair access to loans or technical skills training.

But closing this gender gap could actually address hunger, as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation suggests; 150 million people could be lifted out of hunger by removing gender inequalities in agriculture.

‘This year’s International Women’s Day focus on parity has never been more important at a time when the majority of women in developing countries do not own their own land, are badly paid and locked out of decision-making processes. Gender inequality is not simply unjust, it is dangerous.

‘When women are in positions of leadership the whole of our society benefits and when they are not, the economy loses out from wasted talent.

Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Fairtrade

Empowerment and justice

Fairtrade International’s 2016-20 Gender strategy Transforming Equal Opportunity, Access and Benefits for All outlines a vision and a roadmap to secure equal and active participation across the whole of the Fairtrade movement; women’s empowerment is a key part of its campaign for trade justice.

‘In the Fairtrade system, we have recognised that the inequalities that exist in mainstream agriculture, land ownership and cultural practices will simply replicate unless there is a concerted focus on tackling them…

‘We’re calling on companies to work with us: let’s be bold and overhaul the whole export system to be one of equality and talent.’

Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Fairtrade

Click here to read Transforming Equal Opportunity, Access and Benefits for All.

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