[From the Executive Summary] Women’s access to and control over land is crucial for improving their status and reducing gender inequalities, which in turn are critical factors in reducing the prevalence of poverty, malnutrition and AIDS. Women’s farming activities, which prioritise providing food for the family, have been largely overlooked in agricultural policy. And women’s rights to land and livelihoods have barely been included in HIV strategies and programmes. Although many governments have legislated for women’s equitable access to land, too often this has not been accompanied by the necessary implementation or assistance to support women’s farming and food production. Governments have either neglected or refused to ensure that women are able to get the necessary access to and control over land and natural resources to support food production and other livelihood needs.
This paper highlights the link between gender inequality and HIV and AIDS, through which women’s unequal social and economic status creates situations of poverty, hunger, violence and abuse. Breaking that link requires taking action on women’s rights to land and livelihoods and improving women’s food security. (...)
The recommendations in this report focus on four priority areas that governments and the international community must act upon. Firstly, it is imperative that all agencies at national and international level improve the policy linkages between gender equality, food security and small-scale agriculture as part of a comprehensive AIDS response. Secondly, governments must fulfil their obligations to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in matters of access to and control over land and property. Thirdly, food security policies and programmes need to support the central role of women in ensuring household food security, which has hitherto been neglected. Finally, there is a need to prioritise rural women’s livelihoods and develop specific measures to secure them.
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ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in 1972, for over 30 years we have been growing and expanding to where we are today - helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people in 42 countries worldwide.