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A Row to Hoe: the Gender Impact of Trade Liberalization on our Food System, Agricultural Markets and Women's Human Rights

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A. Spieldoch
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Deregulation and liberalised economic policies have caused major shifts in trade and agriculture worldwide, with serious implications for food security. They disproportionately and differently affect women, who also tend to be disproportionately absent from policy discussions. Women's long-standing traditional roles in agriculture have been largely ignored, especially by economists. Gender-blind policy making has deepened some of the traditional inequities as well as created some new ones. Using this framing the paper explores the linkages between women's role in agriculture and food security, and the more global context of international trade and investment. It provides gender analyses of rice, corn, cashews, cut flowers and poultry production to illustrate the problems for food security and sovereignty caused by addressing trade rules and international human rights and gender equality goals separately in policy making. Gender should be a core component of policy-making in relation to trade, food security and agricultural development. The paper also argues that research has not kept pace with the recent sweeping changes in trade and agriculture, and how they relate to gender inequality.If food sovereignty and the right to food is to be realised, more research is required, including into:- the gender effects of current macro-economic policies on food and agriculture;- ways to strengthen the definition and implementation of the right to food in a gender-appropriate fashion;- gender, land ownership, land tenure and agricultural production;- the role of patents in agriculture relative to traditional knowledge, agro-biodiversity, communal ownership and gender;- water use and consumption for agricultural production and rural development, and the link to gender;- the experiences of women and men as waged agricultural workers.

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