Cultivating Gender Justice

| 03.29.2017

Author’s note: Thank you to Tasnim Elboute, Ayana Crawford, McKenna Jacquemet, Matthew Rose-Stark, Erik Hazard, and Jonathan Baldoza for their invaluable and skillful research assistance. 

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This Backgrounder is the first in a multi-authored series on Cultivating Gender Justice. In this series, we seek to uncover the structural foundations of sexism in the food system and highlight the ways people, communities, organizations, and social movements are dismantling the attitudes, institutions, and structures that hold patriarchy in place. To end hunger and malnutrition, we must end injustices in the food and agriculture system. Thus, dismantling sexism in the food system, in the food movement, in our organizations, and among ourselves is fundamental to transforming the food system and our society as a whole. Food First invites contributions on this topic from authors engaged in research and community action to dismantle patriarchy in the food system. Contact akruzic (a) for submission information. 

While globalization and industrialization of the food system has resulted in fewer farms and farmers, the number of women farmers is increasing – but they’re fighting against a system that fails to serve them and their communities. Women are taking control of their food systems by farming, organizing, and advocating for policies that can create food systems that are better for farmers, workers, their communities, and our planet. Despite an increase in the number of women farmers, there is not a parallel trend in representation; women rarely control or hold power in the agriculture and food industry as a whole, and exploitation is rampant, especially among women of Color.

Women are shaping our food system for the better – they’re leading efforts to create a fair, healthy, and sustainable food system from the ground up. But, as many in the food movement have discovered, the painful and divisive effects of gendered oppression hamper our collective progress. Further, the food movement itself is not immune to the structural injustices it seeks to overcome, and must dismantle oppression in all its forms—including gender-based oppression—in order to achieve the sustainable and just food future we desire.

The courage that women have when we recognize our own power at every level is amazing… And we’re going to stand our ground. There are some things that are just not negotiable – including dignity and survival. As women, the more of us there are leading and supporting each other, the better off we are. We are strategizing together,  moving forward together, for a more just future.

-Rosalinda Guillen, Farmworker and Community Organizer

Featured photo ©ILO/Bobot Go

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Click here to download this Backgrounder, or view in full below: