Gender Nutrition Framework

Nutrition is one of our ten main health topics and we found this guidebook from the Gender-Transformative Framework for Nutrition to be very compelling. The idea that women and girls need less food that men and boys is wrong and we have to work to dispel this myth. One of our storybooks (Everyone Counts) is about sharing food fairly and would be a great way to introduce the idea.

Nutrition and gender are intimately interconnected. Every day, women and girls experience poor nutrition disproportionately. Women and girls’ nutrition experience is influenced by the sociology and politics of how food is produced and consumed and how nutrition services are provided and used. Energy and nutrient requirements are informed both by sex and biology on the one hand, and gender roles and responsibilities on the other. In this way, gender inequality is both a cause and a consequence of malnutrition, which can trap women and girls in a vicious multigenerational cycle of poverty and unmet potential.

  • 60% of the world’s people with chronic hunger are women and girls. 

  • Micronutrient deficiencies remain significant concerns that disproportionately affect women and girls. Anemia is a leading cause of death for pregnant teenagers and the leading cause of disability for adolescent girls.

  • Gender inequalities restrict livelihood, education, and growth opportunities for women and girls, limiting access to and control over the resources needed to meet their unique nutrition needs. 

The Gender-Transformative Framework for Nutrition is a Canadian-led, evidence-based conceptual model that expands the potential of nutrition programs to tackle gender inequalities.

The Framework leverages existing literature and theoretical frameworks by applying systems thinking to critically examine the multi-sectoral drivers of malnutrition while placing empowerment and gender equality at its center.

This re-framing can help us understand how gender norms, institutions, and power relations are disempowering women and girls and causing unequal access to food, health and nutrition services, education, agricultural resources, markets, and technologies. In doing so, the Framework uncovers entry points and facilitates solutions that can address the full social complexity of malnutrition. The approaches that flow from this starting point can synchronously build resilience to unanticipated shocks that undermine pathways to improved nutrition and gender equality.

Download the guidebook on this important topic.