Engendering the right to food? International human rights law, food security and the rural woma...


International human rights bodies such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and the UN Human Rights Council are increasingly engaging with issues of gender equality in connection with the rights to food, land and other natural resources. These monitoring mechanisms often partially attribute gender-based inequalities in land rights and food security to the influences of discriminatory local customary norms and harmful cultural practices as well as to broader questions of economic development, environmental degradation and unequal service delivery that are viewed as particularly affecting women in rural areas. This paper interrogates the discourses of international human rights mechanisms in relation to the rural woman and her right to food. Focusing in particular on the history and development of Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, it examines the dominant narratives being constructed about gendered food insecurity and unequal land rights at the international level and the manner in which these are embodied through discussions of the role and status of rural women.