Friday, March 11, 2011

Women and Hunger: 10 Facts

Women have a crucial role to play in the fight against hunger. As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, they hold the key to building a future free of malnutrition. Here are ten reasons why empowering women is such an important part of our work. 
  1. Women make up a little over half of the world's population, but they account for over 60 percent of the worlds hungry.
    Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger..., ECOSOC, 2007)
  2. Women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries where they have less access to land and credit than men do.
    Women and Food Security, FAO, 2010)
  3. Women are the sole breadwinners in one out of three households around the world.
    (Source: WFP, 2010)
  4. Women in Africa work an average of 50 percent longer each day than men.
    (Source: WFP, 2010)
  5. If women had better access to farming land, fertilizers and agricultural training, yields in sub-Saharan Africa would improve by as much as 22 per cent.
    Global Trends for Women, International Labor Organization, 2009)
  6. Two thirds of the 75 million children denied access to education around the world are girls. In rural Africa, about 70 percent of girls do not finish primary school.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007; UNESCO, 2006)
  7. Educated mothers have healthier families. Their children are better nourished, less likely to die in infancy and more likely to attend school.
    The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2005)
  8. Women invest an average 90 percent of their incomes into their households, whereas men only reinvest about 30 to 40 percent.
    The State of the World’s Girls, UN Girls’ Education Initiative, 2009)
  9. Around half of all pregnant women in developing countries are anemic. Iron deficiency causes around 110,000 deaths during child birth each year.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  10. Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are 20 percent more likely to die before the age of five. Up to 17 million children are born underweight every year.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)

Facts about women in Africa

Gender and violence against women and girls and child protection issues
  • Data shows that at least one in every three woman is a survivor of some form of gender-based violence, most often by someone in her own family. [1999 Johns Hopkins global report]
  • Girls between 13 and 18 years of age constitute the largest group in the sex industry. It is estimated that around 500,000 girls below 18 are victims of trafficking each year.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects l30 million girls and women globally and places 2 million at risk annually. The prevalence of FGM remained stable at levels above 90 per cent in many countries during the last decade, with little improvement over the years.
  • UNICEF supports strengthening knowledge and understanding of gender violence and abuse in many countries and addresses the need for reform of legal systems and policies.
  • In some cultures the preference for boy children results in pre-natal sex selection and infanticide of girls. In India, for example, there are 933 Indian women for every l,000 men, resulting in 40 million ‘missing’ women.
Gender and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and other health issues
1,400 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes, 99 per cent of them in developing countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman has a one in three chance of dying in child birth. In industrialized countries, the risk is 1 in 4,085.
  • Direct obstetric deaths account for about 75 per cent of all maternal deaths in developing countries
  • More than 80 per cent of the world’s 35 million refugees and displaced people are women and children.
  • Emergencies puts women at risk of extreme sexual violence and abuse. In Rwanda, for example, 2,000 women, many of whom were survivors of rape, tested positive for HIV during the five years following the 1994 genocide

Facts about women in Africa

Gender and HIV/AIDS
  • Nearly a third of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are under the age of 25 and two thirds of them are women.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are getting infected faster and earlier than boys. In the 15 to 24 age group, two girls are infected for every boy.
  • Surveys indicate that compared to women who have some post primary schooling, women with no education are five times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2002, an estimated 800,000 children under the age of l5 were infected with HIV, the vast majority (90 per cent) as a result of parent-to-infant transmission.
Gender and girls’ education
  • Over 110 million of the world’s children, two thirds of them girls, are not in school.
  • Of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults, two thirds are women.
  • During the 1990s, gender parity in primary school enrolment improved in all regions world-wide and in nearly two thirds of the countries with available data. UNICEF is supporting 25 countries to accelerate progress towards achieving gender parity in primary school enrolment by 2005.
  • Half of the girls who live in developing countries (excluding China) will be married by their 20th birthday. Increasing girls’ time in school is one of the best ways to foster later, chosen marriage.