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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.
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.
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.
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.
A major driver in drop-out rates for girls in school is linked to child marriage, especially at secondary level. Diarra and her teacher collect data at school to tackle the issue in their community.Go to the Story
"I want to dedicate my time and energy to land rights for women and forced displacement as a result of the armed conflict."Go to the Story
In Kenya, once a woman becomes a widow she runs the risk of losing her land. Alice and GROOTS Kenya collected data on land ownership to change this.Go to the Story