Ensuring Food Security and Reducing Poverty through Gender Development: The Case of Indonesia

  • Angelina Ika Rahutami Soegijapranata Catholic University
Keywords: poverty, food security, gender equality, indigenous wisdom, and sustainable development


Poverty, food security, and gender inequality have a strong causality relationship and have been a focus of socioeconomic development in the world. The World Food Program stated that gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty, but the fact also shows that women play a pivotal role in food security. Those are in food production, distribution, the keeping of indigenous knowledge of biodiversity, and utilization. This concern could be seen in the 3 goals of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that represent a continuity of the millennium development goals (MDGs). The Indonesian data show that approximately 60% of Indonesian poverty is rural poverty. Most of the poor in rural areas are farmers, who have a big problem with the low farmers’ exchange rate.

This study aimed to describe the conditions of poverty and food security in Indonesia and conduct policy analysis in terms of gender and development. This study used secondary and primary data. The results of the study showed that the low farmers’ exchange rate causes difficulty for farmers to escape from the poverty trap. In addition, because women hold various roles in food security but also have various limitations in accessing food, women tend to have a bigger burden than men. The case study in Central Sumba showed that women empowerment in dealing with food security and poverty should be accompanied by the cultural approach. A cultural approach is important because this research found that the indigenous culture affected the household’s decision-making. If there is no adjustment and simplification of tradition, there will be a poverty trap. On the other hand, indigenous knowledge also needs to be preserved, especially in the agriculture sector.  The Indonesian government also needs to develop more specific policies that directly address women’s empowerment and gender equality to cope with the poor conditions and ensure food security in their household.

Author Biography

Angelina Ika Rahutami, Soegijapranata Catholic University

Angelina Ika Rahutami is a Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Economics and Business of Soejigapranata Catholic University, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia.  She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees (Masters and Doctoral) in Economics and Development Studies at Gadja Mada University.  She completed both Masteral and Doctoral degrees with a GPA of 3.92 (Cum Laude).  She finished her post doctoral program on Scheme for Academic Mobility and Exchange in Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands through the Directorate of Higher Education in Indonesia.  She was a United Board Fellow for Leadership Program at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan in 2015 and at Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA in 2016.