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Where operations meet ethics.

5 September 2015

Disparity in the availability of food depends not only on economic or racial factors, but also on gender

There are many countries in the world where women and girls are discriminated against in their access to healthy and sufficient food.

Even James Brown said it in a famous song: “This is a man’s world”!
In a large number of countries where food supply is already a serious problem women and girls come last in terms of the right to nutrition. The Triulza Foundation at EXPO was the setting for a meeting with the theme of empowering women, organized by “Un Raggio di Luce onlus” (“A Ray of Light” Foundation, a non-profit organization) and the “Pangea Onlus” Foundation (“Pangea Charity Foundation”). The project aims to restore the rights of women to access to food security, reducing every type of hardship and discrimination. The means to achieving this is empowerment, or rather the improvement and promotion of women’s economic and social autonomy.

The focus is on countries such as Nepal, where Microfinance projects help women, giving them easy access to the use of funds to start small business projects. But once the credit stops, what happens then? In rural areas women make up half the population, but they are not given any kind of income or wealth.

Yet their role, although not recognized by their societies, is key to an important source of knowledge for the community. Women are food experts: they grow it, prepare it and cook it. If you think that from the early age of three onwards females begin to recognize which ingredients to serve at family meals, it is easy to understand that women possess a priceless treasure connected to their knowledge of this essential requirement for life. Yet, it is difficult to turn this knowledge into a source of income.

But through microcredit you can create a business investment especially for women, establishing a link between what they do at home and what they could achieve in a larger area both in rural and urban settings. Women, in fact, invest their energies in searching for water sources, in cultivation, and are handed down the right knowledge to start activities related to food. In this sense, the answer to the problem is not only to improve access to food but also access to the social world of women, too long relegated to the shadows.


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