Women Are Essential for Food Security Matters: FAOBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 04/09/2021 - 18:11
New achievements have benefitted women from rural communities in Mexico in 2021, including The Hunger Project’s "Sowing Opportunities: Right to Land and Gender Equality in the Mexican Countryside" and the installation of the national chapter of #MujeresRurales, #MujeresConDerechos (#RuralWomen, #WomenWithRights) campaign in Mexico.
Women from rural communities have been one of the most affected groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We want to create awareness about the struggles of women who live in rural areas, their needs and their fundamental and key role in Mexican society,” mentioned in The Hunger Project’s website. COVID-19 boosted many of the inequalities that these women already faced. They have had to face limitations regarding access to quality health services and essential medicines, an increase in unpaid care work, difficulties in accessing water and sanitation and a lack of economic income, as mentioned in a National Institute of Women's release.
Women from rural communities represent more than a third of the world's population and 43 percent of the agricultural workforce. Globally, one in three employed women works in agriculture and in Latin America, rural women represent 29 percent of the labor force, so this population is responsible for more than 50 percent of food production, states the release. In Mexico, according to the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE, 2019), 52 percent of women and 48 percent of men aged 15 years and older live in rural areas. Among them, only 34 percent are part of the Economically Active Population, reported the National Institute of Women.
Since 2008, the International Day of Rural Women has been celebrated and each year the approach changes. This year and last, the objective was to build the resilience of rural women as a result of COVID-19. The two programs mentioned above were developed with this objective in mind. The Hunger Projects' "Sowing Opportunities: Right to Land and Gender Equality in the Mexican Countryside," was an opportunity for women to make visible that hunger is not only a shortage of food but a lack of democracy and that the path towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger begins locally. “Development starts locally. The idea is to feminize public policy, the gender perspective and agrarian justice so that rural women have development opportunities,” states The Hunger Project's release.
Another initiative was the installation in Mexico of the national chapter of the campaign #MujeresRurales, #MujeresConDerechos, a FAO initiative. This has been developing since 2016 to make visible the challenges faced by rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant women in the region to achieve their full autonomy and to value the role they play in achieving food security and nutritious and sustainable diets. The idea is to inform people about activities, projects and public policies that promote effective mechanisms for the participation and empowerment of rural women and their organizations. "We will not rest until this role of rural women is recognize, women's rights are fulfilled and respected, gaps are overcome and we have a more egalitarian society," Lina Pohl, Official Representative of FAO in Mexico, mentioned during the initiative’s release, according to FAO.