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April 14, 2024

The Role of Gender Inclusion in  Boosting Nigeria’s Food Security 

By: Abdulmalik Adetola Lawal

Gender inclusion is a fundamental aspect of promoting food security in Nigeria. The country grapples with significant challenges related to food availability, accessibility, and utilization, and addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach that integrates gender-sensitive policies and practices. In this essay, we will explore the importance of gender inclusion and its profound impact on food security in Nigeria.

Women and girls comprise 60 percent of global hunger, making gender inequality a significant driver and consequence of hunger and poverty. They face various obstacles such as limited access to education and job opportunities, which restrict their economic independence and weaken their bargaining power within households, ultimately affecting household food security. Applying a gender perspective to food security is crucial for promoting policy-driven development that prioritizes improved food security regardless of gender. This summary outlines the connection between gender empowerment, women’s nutrition literacy, and food security in Nigeria.

The importance of gender equality for a sustainable future is underscored in Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. However, gender equality is not an isolated objective; rather, it is integral to the attainment of other global goals, including those addressing environmental challenges. This platform aims to compile relevant information, research, and initiatives at the intersection of gender and the environment from our partners in Geneva and institutions worldwide.

Nigeria, like many other developing nations, experiences gender disparities that directly impact food security. Women and girls often encounter greater obstacles in accessing food due to socio-cultural norms, limited economic opportunities, and unequal distribution of resources. These disparities not only affect the well-being of women but also have far-reaching consequences on household food security and broader community development.

Empowering women emerges as a pertinent strategy for enhancing food security in Nigeria. When women have equal access to resources such as land, credit, and education, they can significantly contribute to food production and household income. Moreover, empowerment programs that focus on nutrition education, agricultural training, and entrepreneurship can improve food utilization and reduce malnutrition rates, particularly among children and vulnerable groups.

The implementation of gender-responsive policies is critical in promoting food security. Such policies should address the root causes of gender disparities in access to food and resources. For instance, initiatives that advocate for women’s land rights, provide support for female farmers, and integrate gender considerations into agricultural extension services can lead to more sustainable food production and distribution systems.

Education and awareness are also important in advancing gender inclusion in food security efforts. By raising awareness about the importance of gender equality in food security through campaigns, workshops, and community outreach programs, traditional gender roles can be challenged, and greater inclusion of women in decision-making processes related to food and agriculture can be achieved. When women are actively involved in planning and implementing food security strategies, the outcomes are more inclusive and effective.

Collaboration and partnerships among various stakeholders are essential for driving progress in gender inclusion and food security initiatives. Government agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, and the private sector must work together to leverage resources, share best practices, and develop innovative solutions that address the complex challenges facing Nigeria’s food systems.

In conclusion, gender inclusion serves as a powerful tool for promoting food security in Nigeria. By empowering women, implementing gender-responsive policies, raising awareness, and fostering collaboration, a more inclusive and resilient food system can be created that benefits all segments of society. Stakeholders at all levels must prioritize gender equality and work towards sustainable solutions that ensure food security for present and future generations.

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