We Are Not All the Same: Taking Gender Seriously in Food Sovereignty Discourse


Park, Clara Mi Young, Ben White, and Julia. 2015. “We Are Not All the Same: Taking Gender Seriously in Food Sovereignty Discourse.” Third World Quarterly 36 (3): 584-99. 

Authors: Clara Mi Young Park, Ben White, Julia


The vision of food sovereignty calls for radical changes in agricultural, political and social systems related to food. These changes also entail addressing inequalities and asymmetries of power in gender relations. While women’s rights are seen as central to food sovereignty, given the key role women play in food production, procurement and preparation, family food security, and food culture, few attempts have been made to systematically integrate gender in food sovereignty analysis. This paper uses case studies of corporate agricultural expansion to highlight the different dynamics of incorporation and struggle in relation to women’s and men’s different position, class and endowments. These contribute to processes of social differentiation and class formation, creating rural communities more complex and antagonistic than those sketched in food sovereignty discourse and neo-populist claims of peasant egalitarianism, cooperation and solidarity. Proponents of food sovereignty need to address gender systematically, as a strategic element of its construct and not only as a mobilising ideology. Further, if food sovereignty is to have an intellectual future within critical agrarian studies, it must reconcile the inherent contradictions of the ‘we are all the same’ discourse, taking analysis of social differences as a starting point. 

Keywords: gender, women, food sovereignty, land, labour, corporate agriculture

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security

Year: 2015

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