PROGRAMS & THEMES: Gender, IFIs and Food Insecurity

Download our Food Security Primer (pdf, 1013kb)

In March 2011, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index, which tracks the price of 55 food commodities for export, rose for the ninth consecutive month. The index has now reached its highest level in both nominal and real terms since the inception of the index in 1990 (FAO, 2011).

While higher food prices have benefited food corporations, they have contributed to a stark increase in poverty in developing countries. A recent World Bank (WB) report revealed that an additional 44 million people have been forced into poverty due to the drastic rise in food prices since June 2010 (WB, 2011). Having already surpassed the levels witnessed during the 2008 food crisis, the recent upsurge in food prices suggests that yet another food crisis has struck poor women, men, girls and boys.

The Feminization of Food Insecurity and IFIs

Women, who account for the majority of both the world's poor and the world's smallscale farmers, bear the brunt of rising food prices and growing food insecurity in developing countries. When men migrate to find employment, women are usually left to work family farmland. Women are also responsible for gathering essential household resources, such as firewood and water, preparing meals and tending livestock (Gender Action, 2011). Despite women's critical role in food production, facts inside this primer demonstrate that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have failed to translate gender-mainstreaming rhetoric into action. To ensure that women and men equally participate in and benefit from IFI investments in developing countries, Gender Action works to raise awareness of some of the IFIrelated causes and gender-specific impacts of food insecurity.

© 2011 Gender Action, All Rights Reserved

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