Gender Disparities Highlighted in UN Report on Food Insecurity

by Ella

The 2023 United Nations’ “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” (Sofi) report has disclosed that a staggering 783 million people across the globe continue to grapple with hunger.

While this number has seen little change since 2022, a constellation of factors including conflict, poverty, climate change, economic fluctuations, and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 cast doubt on the attainment of the 2030 sustainable development goal of eradicating hunger, necessitating substantial transformations.


Published on July 12, 2023, the report underscores an alarming pattern: food insecurity disproportionately affects women across all corners of the world.


Nonetheless, the global gender gap in food insecurity, which had widened in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, exhibited a narrowing trend, reducing from 3.8 percentage points in 2021 to 2.4 percentage points in 2022. This trend suggests a moderation in the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women’s food security, both globally and in specific regions.


The gender gap saw notable contraction in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, while expanding in Africa, Northern America, and Europe.


“In Africa, hunger has been on the ascent since 2010, experiencing a sharp escalation across all sub-regions in 2020 and a more gradual increase in 2021. The prevalence of undernutrition in Africa continued to rise from 19.4 percent in 2021 to 19.7 percent in 2022, translating to an additional 11 million individuals within a year and nearly 57 million since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, hunger surged across all sub-regions of Africa in 2022,” the report highlighted.

As of 2023, the World Food Program (WFP) Hunger Map unveils a grim reality, with 16.4 million Ugandans confronting inadequate food intake. This marks an upswing of 1.2 million individuals experiencing food insecurity in the last quarter of 2022.

Rowlands Kaotcha, Vice President of Programs for Africa and Mexico with the Hunger Project, emphasized, “The time has come for all stakeholders to critically assess the efficacy of systems designed to nourish our planet. Evidently, they are falling short. A fundamental shift is imperative—investing in people and communities to reshape these global frameworks that currently favor only a fraction of the populace.”

According to the latest WFP hunger map as of August 11, 2023, a disconcerting picture emerges for Uganda, where, out of a population of 42.7 million, 9.5 million individuals grapple with inadequate food consumption. In addition, 3.5 percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition, and 28.9 percent of the same age group face chronic malnutrition.

The map further illustrates that among Kenya’s 51.4 million inhabitants, 12.1 million wrestle with insufficient food intake. Moreover, 4.2 percent of children under five contend with acute malnutrition, while 26.2 percent of this demographic confronts chronic malnutrition.

Similarly, in Ethiopia, with a population of 109.2 million, 23.2 million people experience food inadequacy. Among children under five, 7.2 percent grapple with acute malnutrition, and a staggering 36.8 percent endure chronic malnutrition. Meanwhile, in South Sudan, home to 11.0 million individuals, 3.5 million confront insufficient food consumption. Notably, 22.7 percent of children under five encounter acute malnutrition, while 31.3 percent endure chronic malnutrition.



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