- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
By Derek Schwabe
The Brookings Institution published an important report last month that advocates and policymakers shouldn’t miss. The Ending Rural Hunger (ERH) report is one of the first and most comprehensive pieces of research to take precise aim at rural hunger. There’s good reason to do so, since an estimated 75 percent of the world’s hungry people live in rural areas. The additional income and safety nets that are part of inclusive development are slower to reach the more remote areas of low- and middle-income countries. These communities often lack basic infrastructure, may have large numbers of people weakened by malnutrition and illness, and are more likely to adhere to rigid and deep-seated gender norms that prevent women from participating fully in their communities, economies, and societies.
One of the most impressive contributions of the ERH report is its rigorously screened and carefully curated assembly of data on rural hunger. The 106 painstakingly identified indicators are particularly valuable for policy makers since they are grouped according to three essential ‘ingredients’ for reducing rural hunger:
Raising the status of women is inextricably linked with making progress against hunger. About half of the reduction in child malnutrition between 1970 and 1995 is attributable to improvements for women, e.g., opening primary and secondary education to girls (2015 Hunger Report, p. 15). These factors outweighed seemingly obvious “hunger solutions” such as increasing the amount of food available. Yet as our 2015 Hunger Report’s Missing from the Picture data visualization shows, a startling 80 percent the global data needed to measure women’s status, rights, health, economic participation, and more simply does not exist. Thus it’s no surprise that only two of the ERH data tool’s 106 indicators reference women specifically – one on access to land and the other on access to financial services.
Land and credit are prerequisites for productive farming, and considering the majority of employed women in the developing world work in agriculture, these indicators are important. But again and again, we find that women and men are living in vastly different economic and social conditions. Two indicators are not enough in places where women have little bargaining power at any level of society. In addition to more subtle forms of gender bias, such as belittling stereotypes, and structural, such as unequal access to education, one in three women faces outright violence in most parts of the world. Domestic violence as well as assaults by neighbors or strangers is rampant. This affects women’s ability to work and earn enough to meet their needs and those of their families. Discrimination against women demands that data on a wide range of indicators be disaggregated by gender. The old assumption that what’s true for a male “head of household” is true for the rest of the family is simply not valid.
Considering the rigorous vetting process used to screen the data, the scarcity of gender indicators in the ERH report suggests that other indicators were either not complete enough or of too poor quality to make the cut. Even the two indicators that were included had missing data for a number of countries. This should raise a red flag—possibly a line of red flags. As the newly minted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) usher in the promise of a data revolution, data on women and girls, particularly those in rural areas, needs to be at the forefront. Without significant progress on women’s rights, the world cannot meet the SDG goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Derek Schwabe is a research associate at Bread for the World Institute.
Without significant progress on women’s rights, the world cannot meet the SDG goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, hunger and food insecurity were much more common among Puerto Ricans than among their fellow U.S. citizens in the 50 states.
Before the hurricanes, 1.5 million Puerto Ricans were food insecure. The child food insecurity rate was...
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Margot Nitschke
Ending hunger in the United States is within reach, explain Marlysa Gamblin and Margot Nitschke, in Getting to Zero Hunger by 2030...
A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.
Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.
Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.
Bruce Puckett urged...
In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.
Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...
Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.