A shocking jump in the number of women compared to men facing food insecurity lays bare a broadening gender gap, with women now shouldering a disproportionate amount of the burden in the current global food crisis.
A recent report from CARE found that 150 million more women than men were considered “food insecure” in 2021. This is an unconscionable jump from 2018, when this imbalance was an already unacceptable 18 million.
The same research highlights that the greater the gender equality gap, the hungrier people are. This is a cruel irony given women’s vital role in food systems. We cannot reach the goal of zero hunger nor tackle the current crisis without tackling this great injustice.
It is precisely women’s central roles as food producers, processors, traders, retailers and heads of households, particularly in emerging economies, that make rural women such important, if under-utilized, agents of change.
The global response to the food crisis must prioritize gender, enable and equip women to make full use of these roles to drive change, uplift and strengthen entire communities, as well as close the gender hunger gap.