A new report from the Bread for the World Institute entitled “When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger” states that women and girls are disproportionately affected by hunger and poverty because of discrimination practices against them.

The report calls on the US government to prioritise gender analysis in all US global health and development programmes to expose and address the inequalities that women and girls face.

There are several ways in which discrimination against women is carried out. Discrimination is behind women farmers working with fewer productive resources than their male counterparts. It also explains why women in all sectors of the economy earn less than men, and why girls are taken out of school to work or to marry. Discrimination against women is a major cause of persistent hunger. In developing countries, most women work in subsistence farming; despite that, however, women farmers work with much fewer resources than men. According to World Bank statistics, if female farmers had the same access to productive resources as male farmers, agricultural output could increase by 2.5% to 4%.

Policies and programmes that empower women increase not only their earning potential, they also directly contribute to ending hunger. Providing women more resources could bring the number of hungry people in the world down by 100-150 million people, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO.) Although women feed and nourish their children, they receive little support in caring for them and for their households, a situation more prevalent in developing countries. Although most national constitutions prohibit discrimination against women, there is still a wide gap between what governments say they do to eliminate gender inequities, and what they actually do in practice.

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