Women’s Right to Livelihoods
The right to livelihoods is crucial to women and men around the world. It is a right that is fought for and defended by farmers, workers, peasants and the urban poor. Conceptually it is much more than the right to work. It is the right to pursue a dignified life. In its essence the right to livelihood offers people the opportunity to realize other rights with dignity. Particularly, it is a right that is embraced by women around the world, who frequently encounter obstacles to livelihoods and seek equal opportunities to realize their rights. Yet, despite its importance, the right to livelihoods is not an internationally recognized human right. As a result, there is no consensus at the international level regarding its definition. However, conceptualisations of the right to livelihoods are now developing from the ground.
Emerging definition of the Right to Livelihood:
  1. Right to Food and issues related to food – food security, food sovereignty, and food production including agriculture and seeds.
  2. Access to and ownership and control over natural resources, such as land, water and forests.
  3. Issues related to markets, a space to trade both goods and services, and recognition of the fact that participation in markets requires education, skills, and credit.
Advance Women’s Human Right to Livelihoods: join a Global Network!
The global network on women's right to livelihoods is a common effort by around 200 organizations and individuals all over the world to advocate, at the local, regional and global level for the right to livelihoods to be recognized as a human right. Join the Global Network by sending an email to: livelihood@pwescr.org.
 What we do about livelihoods

1. Roundtable with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Chennai, India, March 30th 2010.

On March 30, 2010, PWESCR organised a one-day roundtable – Women’s Productive Resources: Realising the Right to Food for All - with Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in Chennai, India. The goal was for women leaders to engage with Olivier De Schutter on gender aspects of productive resources and their links to the right to food. The roundtable was organised in conjunction with the Special Rapporteur’s regional consultations on land, which informed his report to the Human Rights Council on land and the right to food.
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2. Exchange on Women’s Right to Livelihoods in Ahmedabad, India, December 2009.

An intense exchange on the right to livelihoods of women was organized in Ahmedabad, India in December 2009. More than 25 participants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan contributed to this process of shared learning. The purpose was to come up with a clear articulation of what the right to livelihood means for women from the South.
3. Events at the World Social Forum, Belém, Brazil, January 27th to February 1st, 2009.

PWESCR, in collaboration with a host of other organizations working on women and livelihoods as part of the Gender Equality Coalition of the Human Dignity and Human rights Caucus, organized a series of events recently at the World Social Forum (WSF), in January 2009.
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4. Survey and Mapping of Livelihoods in India and Sri Lanka, 2006-2007.

In 2006 and 2007, PWESCR undertook a critical mapping of economic, social and cultural rights from a gender perspective in South Asia, particularly in Sri Lanka and India, to further introspect the problem of women and poverty, livelihood issues, and other pressing concerns in the region, through the broad framework of human rights.
5. Fact Finding Mission: Dalit Women in Rajasthan, Status of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights

In January 2007, PWESCR undertook a fact finding mission in five villages in Rajasthan in collaboration with the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR) to specifically look at the realities of Dalit Women in relation to ESCR. The Right to Livelihoods was also specifically analysed in this study.
  What we write about livelihoods

Locating Women's Livelihoods in the Human Rights Framework, Discussion Paper no.3,
July 2011

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Women's Productive Resources: Realising the Right to Food for All. A Roundtable with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, March 30th 2010.



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Women and the Right to Livelihoods: Testimonies and Discussions from the World Social Forum 2009.




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Fact Finding Mission Report: Dalit Women in Rajasthan, status of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2008.



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