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