Number 8, September 2013
Bread for the World Institute
provides policy analysis on hunger
and strategies to end it. The Institute
educates opinion leaders, policy
makers and the public about hunger
in the United States and abroad.
UN Photo/Tobin Jones
• Gender inequality is a main
cause of hunger. Fortunately,
it’s also true that improvements
in women’s status have brought
significant progress against
A trainee police officer in Somalia. Both opening professions to women and increasing
women’s presence in visible public roles improves a woman’s ability to hold a job that
pays enough to support her children.
Development Needs All Hands
What are the most important causes of hunger and poverty? Gender inequality might not be among your first guesses—but it is in fact one of two principal
factors behind Africa’s continued food insecurity, according to the 2012 Africa
Human Development Report. (The second is bias against rural areas).
There’s more and more evidence that gender inequality is a leading cause
of hunger. Fortunately, it’s equally true that reducing gender inequality reduces
Analysts at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) looked
back at the years 1970-1995, a period of significant decline in child malnutrition.
What made this progress possible? A larger supply of food available per person certainly seems like a good explanation, and this was in fact something that helped.
But the IFPRI analysis found that it was responsible for only about 26 percent of
the improvement. Gains in women’s education explained 43 percent of it.
• Conditions that interfere
with women’s ability to earn
a living—such as lack of
to hunger and disease in
their families. Thus, greater
workplace equality and
economic opportunities for
women are essential to making
lasting progress against
• Today more than ever,
global, regional, and national
economies don’t have the
“luxury” of wasting time and
talent simply because they are
women’s time and talent.
• The United States is supporting
by integrating gender
considerations into all aspects
of development assistance.
Recent policies recognize
that in order to be effective,
development assistance must
treat women as full participants.