SDG 2 - Zero Hunger

Click on the box to enable country comparisons on the SDG Gender Index by SDG and by indicator.


of chronically hungry people in the world were women (in 2015)


of farm yields could increase if women had the same access to productive resources as men (in 2011)

Malnourished mothers

are more likely to give birth to underweight babies

Why SDG 2 matters for gender equality

Today an estimated 789 million people are undernourished, and women account for 60% of the world’s chronically hungry people. Hunger poses severe risks to their health, and the health of their children. Malnourished mothers are more likely to give birth to underweight babies, and underweight babies are 20% more likely to die before the age of five.

While food insecurity varies across countries, women are more likely than men to experience such insecurity in most countries. The gender gaps in food insecurity are widest in Africa, South America, and South Asia: in Pakistan, for example, food insecurity among women was 11 percentage points higher than among men in 2014/15.

Such gaps are often linked to women’s lack of control over household assets, land and agricultural technologies. Crises can exacerbate such inequities, as seen across many other SDGs. UN Women has found that when crises hit or food prices rise, girls and women often become household ‘shock absorbers’, spending more time finding food while consuming less food (and less nutritious food) than others.

Progress on hunger means empowering the girls and women who collect, produce, cook, process and sell so much of the world’s food. Their access to productive agricultural resources can increase incomes and enhance the well-being of their children, as well as move the world towards SDG target 2.3: doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers.

Plan International / Crystaline Randazzo
Plan International / Crystaline Randazzo

Click on a box to learn about the goal’s related issues, indicators and its relevance to gender equality.

Key findings from the SDG Gender Index

  • Anaemia:

    Anaemia caused by poor nutrition poses critical risks to women’s health, and global progress to significantly curb anaemia rates has been slow. Among the focus countries, Colombia has the lowest proportion of non-pregnant women with anaemia (21% in 2016). India has the highest prevalence of anaemia among women (52% in 2016), with rates nearly double those in Colombia, El Salvador, and Kenya.

  • Obesity:

    Global obesity rates are trending upwards and at least 2.8 million people die each year from related conditions. The two Latin American countries have much higher obesity rates than other focus countries: over a quarter of women 20+ years in Colombia and El Salvador are obese, compared to 7% in India.

Gender Equality Issues Without Sufficient Global Data

Here we highlight the ‘missing’ critical gender equality issues that we weren’t able to include in the Index due to insufficient globally comparable data. These ‘missing’ issues can help form part of an advocacy agenda calling for more and better gender data, contributing to existing calls for gaps in gender data to be filled.

Low birth weight

Food insecurity (disaggregated by sex)

Average income of small-scale food producers (women and men)


Equal Measures 2030 Partners