Image depicting Women &  Hunger
Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

Women & Hunger

Women and girls around the world are in crisis.

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.


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


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. Each cause of unequal treatment reinforces the others, trapping women in a cycle of disadvantage, poverty and hunger.

Source: Slideshow Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

Fair Pay

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

Source: Slideshow Photo: WFP/Mackenzie Rollins

Equal Rights

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

Source: Slideshow Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud

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: Slideshow Photo: WFP/Saikat Mojumder

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: Slideshow Photo: FAO/IFAD/WFP/Luis Tato

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: Slideshow Photo: WFP/Tara Crossley

Women Are the Solution

Square photograph of Stories of Hunger & Hope Detailed photograph of Stories of Hunger & Hope

Stories of Hunger & Hope

Patience's husband became violent with her when their family ran out of food. Now, because of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Food for Assets project, Patience is the primary breadwinner and her husband respects her.

Read Patience's story +
Detailed photograph of
Photo: WFP/Dina El Kassaby

26-year-old Alaa had no choice but to leave her home in Syria due to brutal violence. She works in a U.N. World Food Programme warehouse now along with hundreds of other displaced women and used the money to put herself through school.

Read Alaa's story +
Detailed photograph of
Photo: Gabriella Vivacqua

Deborah and her children survived in a swamp for two months after fighters burned down their home. Today they're safe, and the U.N. World Food Programme provides them with beans, flour and cooking oil.

Read Deborah's story +
Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad STORY: Hear women's experiences in their own words

A determined nurse in Yemen who saves dying children. A young widow in South Sudan with five mouths to feed. A student in Syria doing everything she can to take care of her family. Their stories are powerful.

Read more +
VIDEO: How to end global hunger: Start by feeding and empowering women

Have you ever missed a meal? Felt your stomach growl? That's what every day is like for these women. They are literally hungrier than their husbands, sons and brothers. They are hungry for change. For food. For equality.

Watch Now +
Photo: WFP/Saikat Mojumder PODCAST: Raising an infant in the world's largest refugee camp

Cox’s Bazar is home to nearly 1 million refugees, and 80% are women and children - plagued by poor water, unsanitary conditions and limited access to healthcare. Hear what life is like for new moms in this pop-up city.

Listen now +

Feeding Women Through Determination & 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

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.