Women and girls eat last and least

All over the world, women and girls are more likely to go hungry. And more likely to suffer from malnutrition. In fact, sixty percent of those who experience chronic hunger are female. But why is it that?

  • When it comes to nutrition, women and girls are often last in line. When food is scarce – during famine or conflict – women and girls tend to eat last and least.
  • Women are often more vulnerable to malnutrition. They generally have smaller, less muscular bodies than men and need about 25% less energy per day. But they need the same amount of nutrients, which means they need to eat more nutrient rich foods than men. Often this is unaffordable; foods rich in nutrients – like fruit, vegetables and protein – are more expensive.
  • When pregnant and breastfeeding, women need foods even richer in nutrients to maintain their energy and nutrition levels. Lack of access to a healthy diet puts pregnant women at greater risk of complications during pregnancy and birth. Many infant and young child deaths in low-income countries are the result of the poor nutritional health of mums. Teenage mothers and their babies can also be particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.
  • Women shoulder the burden of domestic care responsibilities, suffering serious mental health challenges and facing alarming increases in sexual and gender-based violence. Conflict and climate change are also disproportionately hurting women and girls, multiplying the impact on malnutrition.

The health and wellbeing of women is paramount to the good health of all members of the family. Women are uniquely placed to lead the fight against hunger – as farmers, caregivers and business leaders.

Women and hunger

  • 60%

    60% of people who are chronically hungry are women

  • 1 in 3

    A third of mothers worldwide don't have the food they need

  • 29%

    29% of women of reproductive aged (15-49) are anaemic, because of a lack of iron in their diet.

How your donation could help:

Action Against Hunger works in 51 countries around the world. Give today and help support women and girls facing hunger right now, and help us fight for long-term solutions for gender-related hunger.

Here’s what your donation could help to do:

  • Provide life-saving nutrient-rich therapeutic food for young babies and girls facing malnutrition.
  • Raise awareness about the importance breastfeeding and good nutrition, empowering mums with knowledge and information to help keep themselves and their children healthy.
  • Buy simple measuring tapes (called MUAC bands), to help mums tell if their child is malnourished, so they can seek help sooner.
  • Provide medical check-ups for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so mums and babies can stay healthy.
  • Run to community groups, to bring women facing hunger together for peer support.
  • Support female farmers with tools, training, and investment.
  • Train women entrepreneurs, equipping them with key business skills to earn more and be able to buy the food they need for their families.

Your donation will be used wherever the need is greatest.

Take Action Against Hunger

Women and girls are the most vulnerable to malnutrition around the world. Help us be there for them.

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More about Action Against Hunger

About us

A boy is screened for malnutrition at an Action Against Hunger treatment centre in Mali.

We save the lives of malnourished children and support their families to beat hunger.

Where your money goes

Muk collects bag of rice at an Action Against Hunger distribution centre in Bangladesh.

Discover how your donation helps us support 28 million people in 55 countries.

What we stand for

An Action Against Hunger health worker in Mali.

At all times, our aim is to save the lives of vulnerable people affected by hunger.