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Gender equality is a must for a world of Zero Hunger; where all women, men, girls and boys can exercise their human rights, including the right to adequate food. This is why the pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment (Sustainable Development Goal 5) is central to fulfilling the World Food Programme (WFP)’s mandate.

Wherever we work – saving lives, changing lives – we must tackle the inequalities that oppress and discriminate against women and girls and promote equity and the empowerment of all.  This is particularly so in humanitarian crises and places of conflict, when food insecurity and malnutrition are exacerbated.  

To reach food and nutrition security for all, it is essential that food assistance policies and programmes create conditions that advance, rather than undermine, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women's empowerment is a key means of achieving gender equality. It involves women having the capacity to determine and shape their own lives and contribute – equally with men – in shaping the lives of their families, communities and societies.

Over the last 20 years, gender policies at WFP have evolved from a women-centred approach to focus on gender equality. Our current policy stresses that a world with Zero Hunger can only be achieved when everyone has equal opportunities, equal access to resources, and equal voice in the decisions that shape their households, communities and societies.

The WFP Gender Policy (2022) goals are accomplished through implementation of  gender-targeted actions that address the following  three policy objectives: 

  1. Achieve equitable access to and control over food security and nutrition – by broadening WFP’s assessment, implementation and monitoring activities to better respond to food distribution dynamics within households. 
  2. Address the root causes of gender inequalities that affect food security and nutrition – by challenging the barriers that influence the meaningful participation of all household members as agents of change. 
  3. Advance the economic empowerment of women and girls in food security and nutrition – by using food and nutrition assistance as entry points to livelihood opportunities that increase equitable access to productive assets, financial services and technologies.

Why gender matters

Empowering girls and women to end childhood malnutrition