Group of women
Self-help group in the garden. Photo credit: UN Women / Betsy Davis Cosme [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The world has made tremendous progress in food production in the last few decades, lifting people out of poverty and greatly reducing hunger and malnutrition. However, women and girls are still likelier than their male counterparts to go hungry or eat poorly.

Gender differences in food security have several causes. Women heads of households are poorer than male heads because they have fewer assets and fewer economic opportunities, and women farmers generally have less access to fertilizers and other inputs, farm gear and extension services. Within families, mothers often are the first to forgo food when resources are scarce, and cultural norms often give men and boys priority at the table.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will guide the global development agenda from now until 2030, provide an opportunity to address these inequities, building on SDG 5 – “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” – and SDG 2 – “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. This discussion brief, an output of SEI’s Gender and Social Equity Programme, aims to lay a foundation for research on how to bridge those two goals by identifying key interactions between them, including potential synergies and tensions or trade-offs. The analysis, based on a literature review, also identifies knowledge gaps and questions to prioritize in future research.

Download the discussion brief (PDF, 3.3MB)