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Women are Key to Ending Hunger
International Women's Day also provides an opportunity to highlight the barriers and discrimination women still face around the world. Many of the most pressing development challenges -- from improving health and nutrition to spurring economic growth and reducing conflict and violence -- can’t be solved without empowering women. Yet, too few resources and too little attention are paid to women’s needs and to the role they play in addressing these challenges.
For example, women are responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of staple grain production around the world, yet they receive only a tiny portion of development assistance designed to improve agricultural productivity. And though women are often responsible for keeping family members, including young children, well-nourished, the lack of resources and education for women means far too many children go hungry, as our interactive map shows. Solving the problem of persistent food insecurity and undernutrition in many countries is not possible without sustained attention to the needs of women.
As the world struggles to address the surge in rising hunger that occurred in 2008 and the looming development challenges presented by the global economic downturn, we should all remember the critical role women play in economic and human development -- and the unique challenges they face. Today’s recognition of International Women’s Day should be the start of lasting empowerment of women.
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