Women &
Hunger
Image depicting Women & Hunger
Photo: WFP/Patrick Fuller
Photo: WFP/Patrick Fuller

In countries facing famine, extreme conflict and hunger – women often eat last and least. They often have the most responsibilities in the home, but the smallest amount of food, sacrificing themselves for their children.

Women are Hungrier
60%

Of the 821 million people who are food insecure in the world right now, 60 percent are women and girls

2/3

In nearly two-thirds of countries, women are more likely than men to report food insecurity

1 in 3

The proportion of women with anemia, a diet-related iron deficiency that can cause organ damage if left untreated

Hungry for Change

Food Security

Of the 821 million people who are food insecure in the world right now, 60 percent are women and girls.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/Reem Nada

Fair Pay

Women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men do and earn 23% less for paid work.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/Hugh Rutherford

Equal Rights

More than half of the world's agricultural workers are women, yet they make up just 13% of land owners.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo

Legal Protections

On average, women have only three-quarters of the legal protections given to men. In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working. There are no laws protecting women from domestic violence in 49 countries.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/David Orr

Gender Equality

Practices like childhood marriage have severe implications for women's health, cut short their education, curb their potential and make them almost entirely dependent on men. Globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/Lilu KC

Cultural Traditions

In some countries, tradition simply dictates that women should eat last, after all the male members and children have been fed. At the same time, surveys in a wide range of countries have shown that 85 – 90 percent of the time spent on household food preparation is women’s time.

Source: Top Six Reasons Women Are Hungrier Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo
Square photograph of Aseya Detailed photograph of Aseya
Photo: WFP/Saikat Mojumder

Aseya

25-year-old Aseya and her son were forced to flee their home in Myanmar because of conflict. They now live at a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Aseya's Story +
Detailed photograph of Maika
Photo: WFP

Maika

Maika is a nurse in Yemen, home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. "Hunger doesn’t differentiate between children," she says. "There are some days when we have more children than beds, so we put three on a bed and lay the rest on mattresses on the floor."

Maika's Story +
Detailed photograph of Shadia
Photo: WFP/Partner

Shadia

Shadia was eight years old when a bomb hit the side of her house, leaving scars on her face, back, and hands. Her family now lives in a camp in Syria.

Shadia's Story +

Feeding Women Through Innovation & Empowerment

Women and girls are especially vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. That’s why WFP runs numerous programs specifically geared toward helping them achieve equality and get the food they need to survive and thrive.

Photo: WFP/Angeli Mendoza
Female Farmers

Nearly half of all small-scale farmers are women. Without access to basic resources like fertilizer and farming equipment, they miss out on nutrition and economic opportunities. WFP provides training and tools to help women become self-sufficient and participate in local markets.

Photo: WFP/Ratanak Leng
School Meals

When families have limited resources, they often send boys to school rather than girls. WFP school meals help keep girls in the classroom, which makes them more likely to find employment, be financially stable over their lifetimes, maintain better health, and have children at a later age.

Photo: WFP/Deborah Nguyen
First 1,000 Days

If babies don’t have the right nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, it can cause irreversible damage to their mental and physical development. WFP uses highly specialized foods for infants, pregnant women and new moms to ensure they make it through this critical time.

Photo: WFP/Kauser Haider
E-Cards

Women are often the primary shoppers and cooks in the family. When poverty puts food out of reach, WFP delivers e-cards that allow them to purchase groceries. Funds are automatically loaded onto the cards, so women in crisis can be reached faster and more efficiently.

I want to Help Save Lives

Empower a Woman, Feed a Generation

Breastfeeding in Emergencies

Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is home to the world’s largest refugee camp. One million refugees live there – 80 percent are women and children. The camp is plagued by poor water, unsanitary conditions, and limited access to health services and food. We spoke with Tracy Dube, a WFP nutritionist in the camp, about the challenges that pregnant mothers, new moms and young children face in this pop-up city.

Women: Stories of Hunger and Hope

Photo: Gabriella Vivacqua “I am hopeful for peace.” One Mother’s Story of Surviving Conflict and Loss in South Sudan

“On May 8, 2018, I gave birth to my last-born child, and the next day, on May 9, my husband was killed," says Deborah. Her and her children have seen more than their share of hardship, including hunger.

Read more +
Photo: WFP/Patrick Fuller The Price of Safety in Nigeria’s Deadly Conflict

The four walls (and no roof) that Osman and his family call home is a building formerly used as a toilet. It took them four days to clean out. But still, his family is comparatively lucky.

Read more +
The Women and Girls Uprooted by Boko Haram

With their homes destroyed and their husbands killed, the women and children who fled Boko Haram in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon have nowhere to turn.

Read more +