An acre for every woman

By Zubeida Mustafa

According to Amartya Sen, people starve not because there is not enough food to feed them but because food is unaffordable. It is also important to note that starvation is not the extreme condition of going without food. It also implies insufficient food intake as to cause malnourishment. If women are given the title to a little land they will grow enough food to feed their family and sell the surplus they produce. Thus they will meet their other needs. The idea is not far-fetched because at present eighty per cent of the work on farms is performed by women in the form of unpaid female labour. It receives no formal recognition. To provide an acre to every woman would call for some kind of land reforms which amounts to asking for the moon in Pakistan today. Hence Green Economics Initiative’s slogan “an acre for every woman” also offers an alternative, “or at least sixteen square feet”. What use will sixteen square feet be for agriculture, one may ask.

Click here to read the full article.

9 thoughts on “An acre for every woman

  1. This illustrate just the kind of ideas (linking women's liberation to broader socio-economic changes) that the International Women's Day should inspire.

  2. The idea is practical and doable-. and also exciting! Najma and Shirkatgah could share this with NGOs that have outreach, such as SPO, SAP-Pk, Sungi and Aurat Foundation, but each one of us should try growing vegetables in whatever space we have.

  3. Yes,

    The whole idea is to teach people how to fish, rather than giving them ready made "fish";

    that's simple "aid ".

    Quote from today's Guardian :

    " Some argue India no longer needs or deserves British aid because its economy is booming and its government has even announced plans for a space programme. But the economic growth has so far brought very limited benefits to the worst off. Yes, we need to help India to move beyond its current dependence on aid, but to simply slash it would make India's poorest families still poorer and, put bluntly, cost many lives. At present, British aid is doing amazing things – saving children's lives, bringing healthcare and education, and creating the opportunity for economic and social progress. "

    A comment from the Guardian :

    " —However India is very poor country that is gowing at a fast rate. Eventually some prosperity will reach the furthest corners "

    Conclusion : Nation building in 3rd world democracies take time.

    The " poorest" and the " have-nots" need help.

  4. Land reforms is a must, and even if it seems a very long way ahead, those who can, should continue to raise their voice. I completely agree with Zubeida, and wish some organisations and individuals would get together to advocate this and convert it to a nation wide policy which could be implemented at scale. Once each rural woman gets an acre, she could form a group with other women in the area to build cooperatives and begin to sell farm produce if in access of food requirements. Such women would also need some form of training in soil and crop management.

  5. Growing your own vegetables may be a partial answer to improved nutrition. In my experience as a specialist in Infectious Diseases practising for over 30 years among people of low socioeconomic class, I find TB is rampant, especially among women aged 15-30 years. Apparent reasons are: overcrowding, malnutrition, poor access of women to health care, late diagnosis by doctors, AND a very important variable: low Vit D levels among women. Vitamin D deficiency promotes growth of the TB bacteria. I believe our women are deficient in Vit D because: a) they have low intake of milk and milk products because of the high cost of milk, and b) minimal exposure to sunlight. Homes are poorly ventilated and do not let sunshine in, and women deprive themselves of sunlight because of complete hijab and niqab and heavy clothing. Social activists should educate women on these issues.

  6. Good thought, but, sadly, not worth implementing in a country where even men do not have their legitimate rights! But the fact that women in Pakistan enjoy more freedom and have more job opportunities than men is as clear as day. At times women also seem to exploit their position, which is a reality. The champions and advocates of women's rights would do well to highlight the unsavory incidents in which women are shown mauling their innocent husbands when they express their intention of going for the second marriage. By the way, we've shed more than enough light on men's and women's rights. It's time we showed a measure of sympathy with the suppressed segment of society–eunuchs–and wrote articles for their rights as well.

  7. Educating the woman is the only solution but how that can be done is a BIG question. When we gave education we provide her with the tool to fight.

  8. As Amryta Sen has pointed out, the real solution to the problem lies in comprehensive Land Reform. The Scheme projected by Shirakat Gah may be a partial palliative. Despite the odds the knowledgable people in Pakistan must continue the fight for Land Reform because in it lies the salvation of the country. You deserve to be cogratulated for focussing on the issue closest to the common Pakistani.

  9. If we are going to demand this for pakistani women then it is my request that demand an acre for literate women then we will see that not only we will overcome starvation but also illiteracy inshallah

Comments are closed.