26 Oct Ukraine war has worsened food insecurity for girls and women
A recent article highlights ways the Ukraine war has hit girls and women the harshest and suggests how aid organisations can support them.
Collating lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2007–08 global food-price crisis, researchers hope to lessen the hardships women and girls face and reduce long-term gender inequalities at such times.
Adequate nutrition is important to reach optimal health as an individual as well as for economic success. But the effect of undernourished populations of women has a much larger negative impact than of men, reaching deep into the health of children and into subsequent generations.
Even before the war and Covid-19 outbreak, it was estimated that 60% of the total undernourished population were women. Even within households, the women and children are more likely to be undernourished than the men (and this is not restricted to poor households).
The article advises gathering evidence to track how crises affect men and women differently; for example, how the migration of men to rural areas during a crisis can displace women in labour force, with outcomes for income and food security.
The authors highlight previous approaches, such as Senegal’s prioritization of cereal sales to women farmers in response to the pandemic, and Bangladesh’s programme where cooking oil was distributed to families of girls under 18, upon agreement that they would not be married underage, with clear social and nutritional benefits. They concluded that targeted incentives such as these can improve outcomes for women.
Strong recommendations are made for shifting the rhetoric away from women as victims and supporting the ways they are finding to respond to crises. This gives women the position to improve their own and their family’s nutrition.