Gender vulnerabilities, food price shocks and social protection responses

Working and discussion papers
August 2009
Rebecca Holmes, Nicola Jones and Hannah Marsden

The first half of 2008 saw the peak of the international food price spike: food prices had risen dramatically, with effects on domestic and local food prices in many countries. Since then, the global economic crisis has further compounded the situation, with concerns that the contagion effects could reverse decades of progress in developing countries, with hundreds of millions of people experiencing worsening impoverishment and destitution.

In this Background Note, we argue that two important features of the food price crisis have received inadequate attention. First – as has been the case in previous crises – women are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden of the food price crisis, both as producers and consumers. Second, responses at the international and national levels have not taken sufficient consideration of gender dynamics into crisis responses.

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