News / Africa

    UNHRC: Empowering Women Would Alleviate Hunger

     Internally displaced Somali women wait for food at a camp in the capital Mogadishu, July 2011. Internally displaced Somali women wait for food at a camp in the capital Mogadishu, July 2011.
    x
     Internally displaced Somali women wait for food at a camp in the capital Mogadishu, July 2011.
    Internally displaced Somali women wait for food at a camp in the capital Mogadishu, July 2011.
    Lisa Schlein
    The U.N. special investigator on the right to food said empowering women would help to reduce hunger and malnutrition. The investigator, who has just submitted his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, says giving women the means to improve their situation also would improve the well-being of their families.
     
    The report examines how discrimination against women keeps them powerless, forces them to work hard both inside and outside the home, denies them the right to education, and the opportunity to seek work that could improve their economic status.  
     
    U.N. Special investigator Olivier De Schutter said women increasingly face the burden of sustaining their farms and families. He said men in developing countries frequently move away from the farm in search of work. Yet, the women who are left behind to do the farming too often are denied the tools to thrive and better their situation.
     
    He said women also have to care for their children and the elderly, fetch wood for fuel and water, prepare food, and do a multitude of other tasks. Women have no control over the household budget, though, he said.
     
    “Women, when they are not able to decide where the household budget should go to, which priorities it should be dedicated to, are not in a position to improve as they could the health, educational, nutritional outcomes for the children," said De Schutter. "In fact there is research, as I describe in my report, showing that where women have decision-making power within the family, the chances of children surviving is increased by 20 percent simply because women make the right choices in the interest of the children.”  
     
    De Schutter said that recent research shows the education of women to be one of the best ways of achieving food security. He said women who are educated marry later, have fewer children, are better able to make better and healthier choices for their families.

    A study of developing countries over a 25-year period, 1970 to 1995, found a 43 percent reduction of hunger during that time was due to progress of women’s education.
     
    De Schutter said greater effort must be made in achieving gender equality.  

    “We will only succeed in doing this if men understand that they have a stake in this transformation, that they are not threatened by this transformation, but instead can have a lot to gain by this redefinition of the respective roles of men and women," said De Schutter. "And, we must do these reforms with men rather than against them... There are experiences that show that by involving men, it takes more time. It is more difficult to achieve, but it has more lasting impacts.”  
     
    The U.N. investigator is calling for the removal of all discriminatory laws and practices that prevent women accessing farming resources such as land, input and credit.  
     
    A 2010 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization concludes if women had the same access to productive resources as men - such as fertilizer, seed varieties, tools, and pesticides - they could increase yields on their farms by 20 percent to 30 percent.   

    He is urging governments to relieve women of many of their burdens and care responsibilities in the home by providing adequate public services such as childcare, running water and electricity.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora