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.
The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 2 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.
Below is an overview of other important gender equality issues related to this SDG that are not currently reflected in the 2019 SDG Gender Index due to data gaps.
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“Interviews with the (Barbados) public about a sugar-sweetened beverage tax showed that (they) did not understand the items being taxed nor did they know when the tax came into effect or where the money collected would be spent.”
Estimates suggest that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20-30%, lifting 100-150 million out of hunger.
60% of chronically hungry people worldwide are women and girls.
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