"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke…" (Isaiah 58:6-8, NRSV)
Women produce more than half of the world's food, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. In most developing countries, rural women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food and are the main producers of the world's staple crops such as corn, wheat and rice.
Although these facts have been common knowledge for a long time, women's role as key contributors to global food security is only now being recognized by policymakers and development experts. This is critical because agriculture can contribute immensely to global economic growth and development. How women farmers fare in the food production chain is a significant component in the fight against hunger.
Regrettably, women continue to have more difficulty than men in acquiring agricultural resources such as credit, land, and adequate farming inputs. This is important because food security is not just about access to and availability of food, but also distribution of resources to produce it, as well as the means to purchase food when needed.
As we celebrate Women's History Month, we must not forget to acknowledge and celebrate women's role in ensuring sustainable food security in our communities. We must also call upon our policymakers to institute policies which include both women and men in the design of agricultural and nutritional programs. Such programs should address the unique needs of women farmers, like access to production resources.
Scriptures tell many stories of God's abundance. Today the world produces enough food to feed everyone and yet 925 million people go to bed hungry everyday. We can work towards eliminating this problem by distributing the abundant food we have equally, and by investing in both men and women farmers.
For more information about global hunger, visit <http://washington.mcc.org/issues/globalecon/food>