“End ‘Triple Discrimination’ against Indigenous Women’


Human Wrongs Watch

Mexico CityProgress in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty hinges on eliminating the “triple discrimination” faced by indigenous women, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva on 12 January 2018 said.

Photo: ©FAO/R. Grisolia

Huave women in Mexico carrying maize cobs. | Photo from FAO

Indigenous women face far higher rates of poverty, chronic malnutrition and illiteracy as well as low access to health care and participation in political life, Graziano da Silva told participants from a dozen countries at the Forum on Indigenous Women in Mexico’s capital.

Some 370 million people – about five percent of the global population and 15 percent of the world’s poorest – self-identify as indigenous.

In Latin America and the Caribbean region, approximately 45 million indigenous peoples account for 8.3 percent of the population but 15 percent of those facing food insecurity and extreme poverty.

Indigenous women in the region face higher poverty and malnutrition rates than any other social group, and typically earn four times less than men, according to FAO’s new regional atlas or rural women.

Globally the situation is even worse for women members of the more than 5,000 indigenous  groups around the world, who speak more than half the world’s languages and spread across more than 90 countries.

Fight against hunger and poverty requires empowering indigenous women at home and everywhere

“Indigenous women face a triple discrimination comprising poverty, gender and ethnicity both within and outside their communities, making them highly vulnerable,” Graziano da Silva said.

“Their social and economic empowerment is not only an excellent way to support them, but a necessary condition to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in their communities,” he said.

The United Nations decision to create a Family Farming Decade starting in 2019 offers a strong platform to focus on rural livelihoods such as most indigenous peoples have, he added.

The three-day forum organized by FAO aims to develop public policy recommendations to empower indigenous women, strengthen their decision-making, and recognizing their rights at community level to enhance leadership and development opportunities.

Cultivating leadership

Indigenous women have often been forgotten in development plans yet are key actors in protecting biodiversity, adapting to climate change and diversifying nutritious diets.

“They have fundamental roles in the spiritual, social and family arenas and are seed guardians – critical carriers of specialized knowledge,” Graziano da Silva said.

Traditional indigenous territories encompass 22 percent of the world’s land surface and are home to 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, according to FAO.

FAO’ has multiple programmes aimed at working with and for indigenous peoples: promoting the sustainability of artisanal fishing in Central America; enabling knowledge-sharing events in Latin America aimed at boosting indigenous peoples’ own capacity to assure proper governance and implementation of land tenure rules; tapping indigenous interests and knowledge to reverse land degradation in Angola; exploring ways to link Maori food products in New Zealand to larger markets; and helping marginalized groups in Northeast and Central India assert their right  to community forests.

FAO has set up leadership schools geared to the participation and needs of indigenous women in Bolivia, Peru, India, Philippines, Panama, El Salvador and Paraguay, and this innovative institution will be scaled up this year, Graziano da Silva said.

“With political will, we can put an end to discrimination against indigenous women,” he said. (SOURCE: FAO).

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Read also:

Indigenous Peoples Lands Guard 80 Per Cent of World’s Biodiversity

Asia: 260 Million Indigenous Peoples Marginalised, Discriminated

The Very Survival of Africa’s Indigenous Peoples ‘Seriously Threatened’

Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Abused by Authorities and Corporations

Dams Hurt Indigenous and Fishing Communities in Brazilian Amazon

Brazil: A Hostage to Parliament, Temer Sacrifices Indigenous Rights to Save Himself

This Is How Indigenous Peoples Help Curb Gas Emissions, End Hunger

Indigenous Peoples – Best Allies or Worst Enemies?

The Indigenous ‘People of Wildlife’ Know How to Protect Nature

‘World Still Lagging on Indigenous Rights 10 Years after Historic Declaration’

One Earth: Why the World Needs Indigenous Communities to Steward Their Lands

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Spiralling Violations in Philippines Including Murder, Threats against Indigenous Peoples, Summary Execution of Children

2018 Human Wrongs Watch

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