The Women of the World are Depending on Us

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“Economic policies that push out smallholders,” Ms. Khan added, “contribute to a damaging feminization of poverty. In this process, young girls, in particular, find themselves at the sharp end of gender violence.”

The WFP-hosted event, which focused on the negative impact of violence against women on food security, also heard from panelist Lourdes Tiban, an Ecuadorean lawmaker of indigenous descent. Gender violence, she said, is not ordained by destiny. Ms. Tiban called for profound cultural shifts at the level of the family, involving the education of children in the spirit of equality. But, she stressed, public policies must also rise to the challenge.

“The worst violence done to women in the developing world comes from poverty – from inadequate access to land and to water. There must be cheap credit, and policies that empower rural women.”

Gender violence must cease to be a common currency, IDLO Director-General Irene Khan has said. “The WFP-hosted event, which focused on the negative impact of violence against women on food security, also heard from panelist Lourdes Tiban, an Ecuadorean lawmaker of indigenous descent.”

Rome, Italy – On 17 November, the Assembly of Parties of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) elected Irene Khan as the new Director-General of the Organization.

IKhanIrene Khan is Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

The first woman to hold this office, she was elected by Member Parties on 17 November 2011 and took up her position formally on 1 January 2012 for a term of four years.

An international thought leader on human rights, gender and social justice issues, Irene Khan was Secretary General of Amnesty International from 2001 – 2009. Prior to that, she worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for 21 years at headquarters and in various field operations. She was Visiting Professor at the State University of New York Law School (Buffalo) in 2011.

Ms. Khan is Chancellor of Salford University (UK), and a member of the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention. She sits on the boards of several international human rights and development organizations.

Ms. Khan received the Sydney Peace Prize in 2006 for her work to end violence against women and girls. Her book, The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights has been translated into seven languages.

Born in Bangladesh, Irene Khan studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School.

Gender violence, she said, is not ordained by destiny. The event was opened by WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. She later spoke to IDLO’s news editor, Andre Vornic, about the rationale behind today’s event.

“We keep doing the work. Every event like this is a stock-taking.”

Ertharin_Cousin_EDWFP_6It’s an opportunity to see whence we’ve come, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, but most important, how we go forward.

And what excites me about opportunities like today is that they energize people to say we are making progress, but we must do more.

Because the women of the world are depending on us,” said Ertharin Cousin.

The ‘joint statement‘ signed by the heads * of FAO, IFAD, WFP and IDLO (Organization for the Right to Development).

* José Graziano da Silva, Director General, FAO, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD; Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, WFP, Irene Khan, Director General, IDLO.

Peacekeeping - UNMISROME – “The international community wants to celebrate this year, the International Women’s Day, focusing on ways to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Despite the fundamental role of women, who produce food and feed poor their families, insufficient attention is given to the relationship between women, violence and food safety.

Gender discrimination increases the malnutrition of women and hinders their strength and their power. Very often, discriminatory practices in rural communities generate bias in the distribution of food in families, with women and girls who usually have access to a smaller amount and less nutritious food.

In times of famine, poor families can give their daughters in marriage in their teens, to have one less mouth to feed. The refugees may be forced to trade sex with food. Women spend hours gathering firewood for cooking, a practice that makes them vulnerable to attacks and rapes. The widows are discriminated against in land ownership and, all too often, national laws favor men at their expense. Domestic violence has a negative impact on agricultural production and the welfare of the family. For many women, only with difficulty able to feed themselves and their children, food security would also mean personal protection and legal.

If, together, we strengthen the food security of women, we can also nourish the minds and bodies of entire communities. If a girl goes to school in a safe environment, be able to reach their full potential, physically and mentally. Can avoid an early marriage or an arranged marriage or other forms of violence. If a woman can register your child anagrafe, legally own the land and the money he earns, may contribute to social progress and economic development.

In developing countries, women represent more than 40 percent of the labor force in agriculture. An improvement of gender equality in access to agricultural implements (such as seeds, tools, fertilizers), education and public services would be an important contribution to achieving food security and better nutrition for all.

Empowering women and girls, from a legal and economic point of view, it creates opportunities for development, strengthen their political voice and reduces their vulnerability to violence. Food safety is a thread that connects the various elements needed to build a future of peace and justice for women.”

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