Gender equality is recognized in a number of international laws and national constitutions and legislations. However, the right to adequate food of women and girls in particular is too often violated or threatened.
Unequal access to power and resources is a major cause of discrimination against women in the state, community, market and their own households. This inequality contributes to the inadequate distribution of food, resulting in malnutrition and maternal health risks. The economic abilities are also affected, further weakening gender equality. It is necessary to address these violations as they are not only relevant for women’s food security but also for children and men.
In relation to land rights, there are several laws and policies that strengthen gender equality in the Philippines. The Magna Charta of Women (R.A. 9710)mandates the Department of Agrarian Reform to issue Emancipation Patents and Certificates of Land Ownership to all qualified beneficiaries, regardless of sex, civil status or physical condition. Moreover, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is required to guarantee equality in the issuance of co-stewardships of spouses, lease agreements and other fishery rights.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger (art. 11), which are to be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. Furthermore, States will ensure “[…] the equal right of men and women to enjoy all economic, social and cultural rights […]”.
FIAN Philippines put a specific focus on achieving food security among women and girls in its advocacy and documentation work. FIAN also provides awareness raising, trainings and workshops for women and children in relation to the Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Act.