• Lower social status mean women get less food in many countries
  • Women are responsible for more than 50% of global food output

Women account for 70 percent of the world’s hungry even as they produce more than half of the global food output, the United Nations said.

Their lower social status in many countries means they receive less food than men, Hilal Elver, special rapporteur on the right to food at the UN’s Human Rights Council, said in a report released Tuesday, International Women’s Day. While women play a critical role in global agricultural production, their access to food is affected at all stages of life, she said.

“Women face difficulties in maintaining household incomes due to increased competition with imported agricultural goods, reduced prices, and declining commodity prices in international market,” she said. They also find it hard to engage in “market activities when cultural norms make it socially unacceptable for them to interact with men.”

Countries across the world need to develop policies to close the gender gap in agriculture, according to the UN.

“Ensuring land rights, reinforcing the rights of girls and women to education and social protection and increasing women’s participation in decision-making in a meaningful manner are critical,” Elver said.

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