Women peasants in South East Asia and East Asia gathered in Sarawak, Malaysia from the 21-23 February 2017, to voice their opinions and provide inputs to the ongoing negotiations for a Universal Declaration for Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The delegation comprised women peasants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, East Timor, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The discussions focused on women’s rights on the means of production, their access to land and natural resources and also their participation in the public sphere in their communities and economy.
As parts of the efforts to strengthen the Peasants’ Rights initiative within the United Nations, the participants reviewed the draft declaration and critically analysed it in the context of gender justice. The members noted that while women workers have tools and legislations to protect against violence, women peasants on the contrary are rarely included in the several legislations or not properly protected by the laws. They noted that the existing articles of women peasants’ rights are generalized and cannot protect specifically women peasants. The evaluation agencies cannot properly reflect the social, economic and political realities that prevent women peasants from enjoying their rights and gender equality. The suggestions that came up would be fed into the ongoing negotiations for the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas.
The participants pledged to overthrow patriarchy and the hierarchical structure that subordinates women and to bring about gender equality at all levels – household, local, national and international.
One of the most repeated slogans at the meeting was “No Women, No Family Farming!”