More than a billion women and girls worldwide are malnourished. They suffered from underweight, growth retardation, a lack of micronutrients and anemia, according to a report published by the children’s charity Unicef on the occasion of International Women’s Day. “In 2021, 126 million more women than men were food insecure, up from 49 million in 2019,” Unicef said.
The number of expectant and breastfeeding mothers suffering from acute malnutrition has increased by 25 percent in 12 countries since 2020, according to the report. In the predominantly African countries, 6.9 million women and young people are acutely malnourished – in 2020 there were still 5.5 million, said the United Nations Children’s Fund.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th and the prevailing global food crisis, Unicef urgently called for improving the nutritional situation of the affected pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. “Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen are at the epicenter of a global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and ongoing drought, conflict and instability in some countries further tightened,” the report informs.
“If the international community doesn’t take action now, the consequences could last for generations,” said UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell.
Foundation calls for more protection of women from violence
The report’s authors call for prioritizing girls’ and women’s access to nutritious, safe and affordable food. These included legally binding measures to fortify foods such as flour, cooking oil and salt with nutrients, thereby reducing micronutrient deficiencies and anemia in girls and women. Girls and women in low- and middle-income countries need free access to basic nutritional services, both before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
UNICEF also calls for speeding up the end of gender and social norms such as child marriage and the unequal distribution of food, household resources, income and housework.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the German Foundation for World Population (DSW) calls for more protection of women from violence. One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexualized violence in their lives, the foundation explained in Hanover. According to a United Nations report, five girls and women are killed every hour by their partner or another family member; In 2021 there were 45,000 girls and women.