Ecofeminism, Food & Social Justice Seminars
Ecofeminism emerges from common ecological and feminist struggles against capitalist patriarchy. It departs from the general premise that the domination, oppression and exploitation of women and nature are fundamentally interconnected under a violent and hierarchical system of power. Growing, processing and preparing food are activities that clearly bring together issues around gender, nature and neoliberal capitalism.
Smallholder farmers grow about 90% of the food grown in Africa and 50% of the world’s food. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that around 80% of those small farmers are women, many of whom go hungry and often lack the right to own the land they farm, with women farmers receiving only 5% of available credit. At the same time, female farmers are often referred to as “farmers’ wives” in most developed countries. And across the world women are still mostly in charge of “feeding the family”, while television programmes are full of male celebrity chefs.
Against this backdrop, initiatives like Via Campesina – ‘the international peasant movement’ – are increasingly highlighting the need to resist neoliberalism together with patriarchy, pointing to for example the manifold forms of violence against women farmers, unequal access to land and gender blindness in the agriculture sector. For Via Campesina, gender equality is requisite to achieving food sovereignty, advanced as an alternative to the dominant agro-industrial model that is exploiting people and nature.
In this spirit, the series of five Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice seminars, “Sowing Hopes and Struggles” will consider issues around gender and food from ecofeminist and multi-disciplinary perspectives. The series is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Food Research Collaboration, IFSTAL, and the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum, based in the Department of Sociology at City University London.