27 July 2022

Statement delivered by Deirdre “Dee” Woods on behalf of the CSIPM during the third round of negotiations of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment.

 I am an Afro descendant, black, mixed-heritage, disabled, queer woman. I am also a survivor of sexual violence, of domestic violence, and I am landless and subjected to the legacies of oppression. Being born in the land of my oppressor. I am the daughter of people who were trafficked and were enslaved. Until the early 20th century, I was not even considered human.

But we changed that. We fought for our right to become human. And likewise, women fought for rights. Fought for the right to vote, for the right to abortion. Right. We have fought for our rights. Women have died fighting for those rights.

So, I ask all of you, who is this document for? Who is worthy of the right to food? Are we not worthy of the right to food? All of us who exist in our multiple dimensions of being women, of being non-binary people, of having different sexualities, of coming from various backgrounds.

We are more than just the contexts and situations in which we exist. But I ask you, are we worthy of the rights to food and nutrition? This is what we are fighting for here. This is what this document is for.

And governments need to remember you work for us. You work for us, as people. You represent us, ultimately. We are talking about millions, if not billions of women and children who every day are subjected to violence, who are denied the right to food.

And here we are sitting, taking sides, using religion to justify discrimination against us.

When we entered this third round, we were at a progressive stage. I am talking about language that might be sensitive to some, but this is more than language. This is our lives.

And the CSIPM has been respectful and extremely flexible throughout this entire process, and we’ve been actively engaged in this process along with lots of other processes. You know, if this continues, you risk our withdrawal from this process, because we are speaking on behalf of all those people who can’t be here from the global north, from the global south.

And we come to consensus, you know, there’s no separation. There are no sides. We all come in from a place of oppression and marginalisation and what we see happening here is the patriarchy in action. This is about people who still want to control our bodies, our minds, our rights, and our freedoms. This is about people who do not want to give up their privileges. So by removing intersectionality, you are erasing us. By removing diversity, you are erasing us. By removing gender transformative, you are erasing us.

This is not about being responsive. This is about taking things at the root and changing them so that our children, our nieces, our daughters, our mothers, our aunts, our grandmothers, everyone, every woman in your life has the right to food. This cannot continue as it is. This cannot continue. Thank you, Chair.


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