Women’s Empowerment as a Tool Against Hunger in Asia and the Pacific – new report

[24 July 2013] BANGKOK – 'Empowering women is a key ingredient to turn the Asian economic boom into winning the battle against malnutrition,' said Olivier De Schutter today in Bangkok, as he launched a new report entitled 'Gender Equality and Food Security – Women’s Empowerment as a Tool Against Hunger'.

The report, prepared at the request of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will guide discussions at the three-day Asia-Pacific high-level consultation on 'Gender, Food Security and Nutrition: Ensuring the Other Half Equal Opportunities' in Bangkok (24-26 July).

The report, focused on the Asia and Pacific region, recaps the multiple interlinking contributions that gender equality and the empowerment of women can make to food security.

For example, the report provides evidence that improved education for girls and women can lead to: (i) improved feeding practices and lower rates of population growth; (ii) more economic opportunities for women on and off the farm; and (iii) greater economic independence and improved bargaining position of women within households, resulting in choices that are beneficial to the health, education and nutrition of children.

"What the Asia and Pacific region shows is that neither strong economic growth nor increased food availability per capita are sufficient to reduce hunger, and especially child malnutrition, unless we integrate the gender dimension more fully. The ADB is leading the way in putting these issues high up the regional agenda," he stated.

The new study complements the report 'Women's rights and the right to food' presented by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2013.

Read the report.