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Global food production is sufficient to feed the world’s population. However, due to structural factors that limit the equal access of men and women, boys and girls to food, this does not result in global food security. In 2017, the estimated number of undernourished people in the world increased to nearly 821 million (one out of nine people), from around 804 million in 2016. One in every three women of reproductive age was found to be anaemic. Persistent instability in conflict-ridden regions, adverse climate events in many regions of the world and economic slowdowns affecting more peaceful regions and worsening food security all help to explain the increase in severe food insecurity and malnutrition. The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa, while Asia’s decreasing trend in undernourishment seems to be slowing down significantly. The disparity in food security is partially due to existing gender inequalities and discrimination in the agriculture sector, with the inadequate engagement of women in the agricultural system and the additional challenges they face in accessing productive resources, services and employment opportunities as compared to men. Women contribute to 43 percent of the world’s food production.1 Yet, despite their crucial role in agriculture, they lack the access to information, resources, services, land, finance, technology and local institutions that men more easily obtain. FAO reports that if women were to have the same access to resources as men, agricultural productivity would increase by up to 30 percent, agricultural output by up to 4 percent, and the number of poor people would decrease by 100 to 150 million.

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