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Abstract

The right to food is the right to life. Ensuring food security for all the citizens and their food sovereignty is the responsibility of the State. Currently, the need for food security, especially for marginalized and oppressed sections of society, including women in Nepal, is inadequately addressed. In this context, the main objective of this paper is to examine the gender dimensions in food policies and programs in Nepal. The paper explores five dimensions of food security, the right to food and food sovereignty, and analyzes gender inclusivity in food policies and governance in particular, since the advent of the sixth periodic plan (1980-1984) that included gender issues for the first time in the planning history. The paper, employing qualitative methods, recognizes that ensuring food governance is not only essential for equitable food security and the right to food, but also to the process of transforming discriminatory cultural norms and values into equitable ones and strengthening the psychological well-being of women. This paper argues that exclusion of women from decision-making processes leads to their psychological disempowerment. Women’s participation in socio-cultural, economic, and political spheres directly impacts processes to identify and recognize their needs, preferences and priorities in food policies and programs. The article concludes, that since food security and the right to food impact women and men differently, a transformational process must respond to gender-differentiated interests, choices, preferences and entitlements. This paper proposes a framework to promote gender responsive food systems and concludes that gender responsive food policies, programs, institutional arrangements and behavioral change of individuals, families and communities are crucial to ensure the right to food for all.

Note on the Author

Ms. Yamuna Ghale is Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

Dr. Kailash Nath Pyakuryal is currently a Visiting Professor and founding Vice-Chancellor of the Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal.

Dr. Durga Devkota is Associate Professor, and Programme Coordinator of Rural Sociology and Development Studies at the Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

Dr. Krishna Prasad Pant is Agricultural /Environmental Economist, Fellow at South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) and Visiting Faculty (Environmental Economics), Kathmandu University, Nepal.

Dr. Netra Prasad Timsina is Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal and Regional Coordinator of the South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE).

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