Issue: Low birth weight

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Gender inequalities are linked to low birth weight, which indicates undernourishment in the womb. Evidence from India suggests that children born with low birth weight are most likely to be born to mothers without decision-making power about food.

Low birth weight data, which can be used as a proxy for women’s nutrition during pregnancy, is particularly patchy in developing countries. The UNSD and UNICEF track low birth-weight births globally, collecting nationally reported statistics. Yet many births, do not take place in formal health facilities and are often unreported in official figures, resulting in under-estimates. UNICEF suggests that nearly half of the world’s infants are not weighed at birth. A web-based tracking tool developed by the WHO aims to improve measures of low birth weight to help countries set targets to achieve the SDGs and chart their progress.

Issue: Food insecurity (disaggregated by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Gender gaps in who experiences food insecurity are biased against women in more countries than they are against men. In Pakistan, for example, food insecurity among women is 11 percentage points higher than among men.

The Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) – a metric on the severity of food insecurity based on people’s responses to simple survey questions – has been developed as part of FAO’s Voices of the Hungry project. The FIES has been applied in the Gallup World Poll® and can measure food insecurity at the individual level, allowing results to be meaningfully disaggregated by gender.

Issue: Average income of small-scale food producers (by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

An estimated 500 million households worldwide rely on smallholder farming, but male and female farmers have different access to agricultural inputs and unequal yields and incomes. In Africa, for example, women make up almost half of the agricultural workforce, yet their productivity is lower than that of men. They often face bigger hurdles in accessing agricultural resources, banking, credit and markets and in owning and controlling land.

The African Smallholder Farmers Group (ASFG) collects regional data on the factors that affect the capacity of smallholder farmers to improve productivity and access markets. The Smallholder Diaries managed by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) aim to bridge agricultural policymaking and the challenges faced by smallholder farmers by collecting data from interviews conducted every two weeks, generating around 500,000 data points on the lives of smallholder farming families.