330 million women could lose one meal a day due to the impact of the war in Ukraine

CARE International UK

20 October 2022


Over 200 million people urgently needed humanitarian food assistance just to survive by September 2022. CARE International estimates that more than 620 million more people around the world could lose one meal a day over the next sixth months. 

Women will be disproportionately affected. Nearly 50 million more women than men could miss one meal per day for the next six months, based on current trends in gender equality and food security.

“As of September of 2022, the global food crisis had gotten so extreme that 205 million people are already in urgent need of humanitarian food assistance just to survive,” said Emily Janoch, CARE Senior Director of Thought Leadership. “The crisis could grow by another 620 million people in the next six months if we do nothing, and we know it will fall hardest on women.”

Janoch noted however that this scenario is not a foregone conclusion. “If we act fast, we can prevent the food crisis from getting four times worse in the next six months. That’s only possible if we make smart investments in growing food, increasing resilience, and equality in food systems.”

CARE International’s research draws on a recent report from Gro Intelligence and CRU Group on the impacts of the Ukraine Conflict on global fertilizer supplies. In their report, Gro Intelligence and CRU Group indicated that a global fertilizer shortage, and the resulting spike in prices will lead to a total loss of 72 trillion calories of food produced in 2022 alone.

According to CARE International, that calorie loss would be the equivalent of one missed meal a day for tens of millions of people who are already facing severe insecurity. In its analysis, CARE also found that, while 288 million men could lose one meal per day, nearly 332.8 million women would lose a meal a day.

Previous analysis by CARE highlighted a global link between gender inequality and food insecurity. In 2021, 150 million more women than men experienced hunger. 

To do this, Janoch added, CARE’s recommended actions include:

  • Move fast: Ensure that all emergency investments in food security are implemented with speed, transparency, and flexibility.
  • Grow more food now: All investments must prioritize resilience efforts alongside traditional emergency food assistance, supporting small-scale farmers to produce sufficient, nutritious food for their local communities.
  • Invest in gender equality in the food system. Women not only eat last and least, they also farm last and least. This damages the whole food system and lowers food production around the world. Investing in gender equality will increase food production and reduce the number of people who face food crisis.
  • Invest in the future: These investments must also include support for sustainable agriculture practices that support healthy communities and are less dependent upon chemical inputs and global supply chains.
  • Act across sectors: No one actor can meet the incredible crisis we are facing. All actors—from governments to multi-lateral organizations to private sector companies must invest resources in averting this crisis, or risk kicking off the worst famine we have seen globally.

The full report can be found here

Notes to the editor: 

For more information and interview requests, please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK at moore@careinternational.org.