Despite the fact that women in developing countries provide nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labor, they continue to account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry. Gender discrimination limits a woman farmer’s access to agricultural inputs, credit services and a market to sell her products. These constraints lead to lower crop yields, produce sold at a lower price and, ultimately, continued poverty and hunger for her and her children. Gender-equal access to these agriculture resources could increase the average woman farmer’s crop yields by 20-30 percent.
Given the opportunity to generate and control an income, women routinely invest significant portions of their income in food, healthcare and education for their families. Unfortunately, at the moment, the majority of women in developing countries lack economic power, resulting in a higher rate of girls kept out of school, minimal access to basic health care, increased HIV/AIDS prevalence and higher maternal mortality rates. Yet women continue to bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of the family.
A proven way to overcome many systematic barriers to a woman’s success has been increased participation by women in local, regional and national legislation as empowered change agents. In just 10 years, the amount of women holding seats in houses of national parliament in South Asia rose from seven to 18 percent. But a global goal of equal representation is still a long way off, with only one woman for every four men in parliamentary houses.
The Hunger Project recognizes the prevalence of gender discrimination and the global imbalance of power and responsibility and empowers women to build their capacity and self-reliance as a way of overcoming obstacles. We firmly believe that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty.
Women’s Leadership Workshops in India, a Women’s Empowerment Program throughout Africa and specialized animator trainings worldwide empower women to seek positions of power and train all of our partners, women and men, to take responsibility for improving lives in their communities.
What We Do
- Provide access to microfinance. At our epicenters across Africa, tens of thousands of women food farmers are increasing their incomes through our training, credit and savings program, and strengthening their clout in the marketplace. In 2016 alone, 78,686 women and men participated in our Microfinance Program, and over 70% of them were women.
- Empower elected women representatives. Campaigns such as SWEEP (Strengthening Women’s Leadership in the Electoral Process) identify and empower elected women representatives throughout India. In 2014, more than 66,000 women were identified as SWEEP participants. Many go on to become elected women representatives. These representatives are now effective change agents for ending hunger in their villages. They form district- and state-wide federations to ensure that their voices are heard at top levels of government.
- Promote community leadership roles for women. Our Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) empowers women to change mindsets about gender discrimination to become strong leaders in their households and communities. In Africa, every Epicenter Committee – a council that is elected to be responsible for all epicenter activities – must include an equal number of women and men.
- Celebrate and empower girl children in Bangladesh. The Hunger Project catalyzed the formation of a 300-organization alliance that honors National Girl Child Day a day to focus on eradicating all forms of discrimination against girl children, each September. In 2014, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh gathered over one million people across Bangladesh to celebrate National Girl Child Day.
- Halt the spread of HIV/AIDS through education and awareness building. In 2003 we launched our HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign. African leaders who were willing and able to confront the gender issues fueling the spread of the disease designed workshops to empower grassroots people to transform the conditions that have led to the spread of HIV/AIDS. To date, more than 1.4 million people have participated in the workshop with an additional 97,025 participants in 2014 alone.