Food Sovereignty and Gender Justice
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Food sovereignty asserts the right of peoples to define and organize their own agricultural and food systems so as to meet local needs and so as to secure access to land, water and seed. A commitment to gender equity has been embedded in the food sovereignty concept from its earliest articulations. Some might wonder why gender justice should figure so prominently in a food movement. In this paper I review and augment the arguments for making gender equity a central component of food sovereignty. The most common argument is: if women constitute the majority of the world’s food producers, then agricultural policy is a women’s issue. And insofar as patriarchal social relations continue to dominate the globe, then changing agricultural policies will require explicit attention to gender injustice. I suggest that this is a good argument, but that an ecological feminist perspective can provide additional theoretical reasons for maintaining the centrality of gender justice in food sovereignty discourse. Moreover, ecological feminism can provide a robust theoretical framework that coheres a concept and movement with a wide set of concerns. My critique positions food sovereignty’s call to social justice as embedded in a truly radical re-thinking of dominant conceptual frameworks, and re-envisioning of political and ethical relations.
KeywordsFood sovereignty Ecological feminism Food justice Gender justice
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