Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 225–232 | Cite as

Right to food; right to feed; right to be fed. The intersection of women's rights and the right to food

  • Penny Van Esterik


This paper explores conceptual and practical linkages between women and food, and argues that food security cannot be realized until women are centrally included in policy discussions about food. Women's special relationship with food is culturally constructed and not a natural division of labor. Women's identity and sense of self is often based on their ability to feed their families and others; food insecurity denies them this right. Thus the interpretation of food as a human right requires that food issues be analyzed from a gender perspective. For example, the paper asks how the rights to food intersect with the rights of women and other human rights; what the policy implications of these intersecting rights are; and how their integration will contribute to the effort to view all human rights as mutually reinforcing, universal, and indivisible. The second half of the paper speculates on the significance of distinctions between the right to be fed, the right to food, and the right to feed for understanding the relation between gender and food.

Food and human rights Food security Gender Policy Women 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Penny Van Esterik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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