Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community

Sowing Seeds of Gender Equity and Social Inclusion into the Global Organic Movement

Posted On: May 6, 2021

Every three years members of IFOAM – Organics International around the globe convene to what is called the General Assembly (GA). This meeting provides opportunities for IFOAM’s voting members to consider challenges within the organic sector and propose motions suggesting actions for the coming years leveraging the democratic and participatory nature of the organisation.

In view of the upcoming GA, scheduled to be held in conjunction with the 2021 Organic World Congress (OWC) on 6-10 September, POETCom submitted a motion to revise the Fairness principle – one of the 4 guiding principles of Organic Agriculture (together with Health, Ecology and Care) – to include the gender equity and social inclusion aspect; in addition to the motion proposing that Agroecology criteria is incorporated into the IFOAM Best Practices Guidelines for agriculture and value chains. The proposed motion to revise the Fairness Principle was one of the recommended actions identified in the Gender and Social inclusion Analysis of POETCom’s strategy, governance, tools and processes produced with the support of the Building Prosperity for Women Producers, Processors and Women Owned Businesses through Organic Value Chain (BPWP) Project – funded by the Australian Government.

Motion: Add Gender Equality and Social Inclusion to the Principle of Fairness

The IFOAM – Organics International Office and World Board should revise the Fairness Principle to incorporate Inclusiveness in the principle statement; and add Gender Equality and Social Inclusion language to the explanation text.

We realize that the IFOAM Principles of Organic are elaborative and inclusive, however, since their adoption in 2005, gender and social issues have rightly received more attention and needs to be clearly reflected and elaborated in the IFOAM Principles.  Failing to specifically address gender and social inclusion issues in the guiding principles is a missed opportunity for the Organic Movement to join the global efforts towards equal recognition of the contribution of women and other underserved stakeholders in the agricultural sector, and a call for action for fair and equitable distribution of benefits by people of different genders, ages, and socio-economic status.

The board of IFOAM – Organics International met in April to assess all submitted motions in preparation to the General Assembly. The motions submitted by POETCom to add gender equity and social inclusion in the principle of fairness was welcomed by the IFOAM Board who then advised the GA to vote in favour of this.

This is a step forward, towards the realisation of organic farming also as a social movement supporting gender equality.

The OWC2021 will be a virtual event and POETCom Members will be kept informed of the event details.

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