Online Program

Women farmers first: Food companies, food security and the rights of women at the bottom of supply chains

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Sarah Kalloch, Oxfam America, Boston, MA
Every day, the top ten food and beverage companies in the world make more than one billion dollars' profit between them. These companies have grown prosperous while millions who supply the land, labor and water for their products face increasing food insecurity and poor health outcomes. Women, who make up 43% of the world's agricultural workforce, face the worst hardship of all. Addressing the inequality women farmers face will require that companies uphold women's rights and foster economic opportunities in the supply chain and in business models—and that public health advocates hold them accountable for protecting women's rights and women's health.

This presentation will discuss Oxfam's Food Justice Scorecard, which ranks the top ten food and beverage companies across seven environmental and human rights indicators: climate change, land use, water use; the rights of women, farm workers and smallholder farmers; and transparency. It will delve into the gender indicator, and examine what commitments and supply chain management policies companies have—and should have—to protect women farmers and ensure community food security.

This presentation will then explore a case study on women cocoa producers. Women play an important role in cocoa production, but are paid less, have less access to credit and training often cannot own land, and have fewer opportunities to join cooperatives. Oxfam has a set of recommendations which can apply across commodities for how food companies can ensure women at the bottom of their supply chain can feed their families while improving commodity sustainability.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact food and beverage companies and their agricultural supply chains have on women farmers and women's rights. Explain how changes in corporate policy can support women cocoa farmers and improve their food security. Describe the role public health professionals play in holding food companies accountable for women's rights and health in developing countries.

Keyword(s): Women, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am part of the Oxfam team working on the Food Justice Scorecard and cocoa action.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.