The Global
Hunger Index (GHI) Report
released for World Food Day today shows that progress
in fighting hunger remains slow. This year the report released
by the International Food Policy Research Institute highlights gender inequality
as a factor in food insecurity.

The Global Hunger Index ranks countries on three leading
indicators—prevalence of child malnutrition, rates of child mortality, and the
proportion of people who are calorie deficient—and combines them into one score.
The higher it is the worse the hunger situation.

Southeast Asia, the Near East and North Africa, and Latin America and the
Caribbean have reduced hunger significantly since 1990 – up to 40% in some cases, but in South Asia and
Africa there has been no progress at all according to the report.
Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sierra
Leone have the highest 2009 GHI scores. In these countries war and other
conflicts are contributing to food insecurity.

Gender inequality, hunger and health are intertwined. In hard times its often women who suffer in terms of equality. When food is scarce, effort is diverted from education to food growing, and women because of their low status lose out first. When it comes to mealtimes in these situations, men traditionally get the first share of food, resulting in health inequalities as well.

The report highlighted this link between gender inequality and food security by comparing the Global Hunger Index with the 2008 Global Gender
Gap Index. it showed that that hunger was highest where inequality was highest especially in
areas with lower literacy rates and access to education for women. High rates of
hunger are also linked to health and survival inequalities between men and

Improving gender equality is an important tool to improve
food security, says the report. Janice's blog  yesterday noted how important women are to feeding the world.

Further reading identified from Nutrition and Food Sciences database:

The pervasive triad of food security, gender inequity and women's health: exploratory research from sub-Saharan Africa. Hyder, A. A.; Maman, S.; Nyoni, J. E. Khasiani, S. A.; Teoh, N.; Premji, Z.; Sohani, S.> African Health Sciences 2005 Vol.5 No. 4 pp. 328-334

Education – poverty – hunger: how do we deal with it? Hoffmann, V.;Gerster-Bentaya, M. Rural 21 2009 Vol.43 No.3 pp. 8-11.

Targeting women pays when promoting food security. LEISA Magazine 2008 Vol.24 No. 3 pp. 10-11

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