"Wherever women are not empowered, you see high levels of hunger," SureshBabu, a senior research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), told IRIN news.
This report, from the institute's 2009 Global Hunger Index (GHI), focuses on the importance of promoting gender equality so as to improve food security. "The more women are educated, the more likely they are to take children to [the] hospital," Babu added.
A total of 121 countries were surveyed to determine the severity of food shortages according to food per capita on the basis of required per day, the weight of children under five, and the number of children dying before they turn five years old.
According to IFPRI, "Equalizing men’s and women’s status would reduce the number of malnourished children by 13.4 million in South Asia and by 1.7 million in sub-Saharan Africa.” Twenty-nine countries in Africa and South Asia have alarming or extremely alarming levels of hunger; nine out of 10 of the worst are in sub-Saharan Africa.The key factor to maintaining food security, according to the report, is good governance. "Governance is not just about corruption but worrying about those who will be affected by hunger," Babu added. "The challenges [of hunger] are not new. What is surprising is the lack of action from governments."
For the full IRIN report, see http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86602.