Author: Hannah Hayes, Senior Communications Manager, The Power of Nutrition
Good nutrition is a cornerstone for human development and well-being. Above all, adequate nutrition is a human right. Every human has the right to adequate, sufficient, and healthy food.
We all know, however, that having the right does not necessarily grant access. In the case of nutrition, gender inequality and biology combine, leading to malnutrition affecting women disproportionately. You could say even, malnutrition is sexist.
Let’s look at the facts:
It’s clear gender and nutrition are interconnected. Women and girls are more vulnerable to nutritional challenges – loss of iron during menstruation and childbearing can lead to micronutrient deficiencies, and pregnancy and breastfeeding additional nutritional demands.
Compromising on the nutrition and health of women and girls affects their ability to reach their potential (physically, cognitively and economically – it has a huge effect on education which in turn affects livelihoods), but it also directly impacts the health and life chances of their children (and their subsequent children after that) when they become mothers themselves, and even before conception actually occurs. Supporting and improving the nutritional status of adolescent girls, has significant impacts not just for their growth and achievement as young women, but also the wellbeing of any children they might choose to have in the future. Without strong maternal nutrition, malnutrition is passed down from mother to child, with lifelong consequences for the survival, growth and development of children. The vicious circle of poverty and malnutrition is clear to see.
Biology is one side of the equation – gender inequality is the other. Discriminatory social and cultural norms have led to women and girls eating last and less within many households. Women often face barriers when it comes to accessing health services too.
That’s why many of our programmes are centered around the needs of women and girls, to achieve maximum impact on nutritional outcomes – for entire households, communities and future generations. Our programmes both tackle the impact of gender inequality on the health and nutrition of women and girls, whilst also supporting and improving their nutritional needs to support women’s achievement and empowerment and proactively address gender inequalities in the future.
Here are some of the ways we’re focusing on tackling gender inequalities across our 22 programmes:
So far, we’re proud to share that together with our partners, we have:
The gender dialogue often focuses on “breaking the glass ceiling”. Equally important, however, is that everyone, particularly women and girls, is free of the “sticky floor” that prevents them from reaching the glass ceiling in the first place. Malnutrition is a big part of the “sticky floor” – and that’s why we address both.
For more information, or partnership enquiries on how nutrition can help to support gender ESG objectives, please contact Chris Grayson – email@example.com