Hunger is an often overlooked cause—and effect—of gender inequality
World Food Program USA
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Around the world, women and girls face many obstacles to advancement, such as unequal access to education, lack of economic opportunity, and disproportionate rates of violence. But one disadvantage women and girls experience often gets overlooked, even though it contributes to and is perpetuated by other gender inequality issues—hunger.


According to global statistics from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the face of hunger is largely female. From mothers sacrificing food for their children to girls' needs being neglected due to discrimination, women and girls experience food insecurity at disproportionate rates. Nearly 500 million women and girls don't have enough to eat, making them 60% of the world's food-insecure population.

Women and girls not getting adequate nutrition isn't just a problem for them personally, but for society as a whole. When mothers are malnourished, pregnancies and infant feeding are compromised, leading to unhealthy outcomes. When women don't get enough calories and nutrition, they struggle to find the energy required to work or care for their families. When girls go hungry, they can't learn well and their education suffers, leading to a cycle of disadvantage.

When women and girls thrive, communities thrive, so tackling hunger for women and girls may help remedy other gender inequality issues as well.

WFP is addressing women and hunger with several initiatives:

Providing School Meals

When families can't afford to send all of their children to school, they often choose to send their sons instead of their daughters. But if parents know meals will be provided at school, they are more likely to send their girls as well. School meals and take-home rations keep girls in the classroom, which makes them more likely to find jobs and build financial stability as adults. WFP has provided millions of school meals in 61 countries and was the world's largest provider of school meals in 2018.

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Supporting Female Farmers

More than half of the world's hungry people are small-scale farmers, and nearly half of small-scale farmers are women. However, only 13 percent of those female farmers are allowed to own land—another example of how gender inequality crosses over multiple issues. If female farmers had the same access to resources as males, they could feed 150 million more people. WFP works to empower female farmers by improving access to resources like fertilizer and farming equipment, as well as providing training in areas like improving production and developing business skills. Investing in local knowledge and tools helps women farmers become more self-sufficient, leading to greater food security for all.

Nourishing Mothers and Infants

More than 3 million children die of hunger each year, and 45 percent of deaths among children under 5 years old are caused by malnutrition. The first 1,000 days of life, from pregnancy to a child's second birthday, are a crucial period for mental and physical development—a time of life when adequate nutrition matters the most. That's why WFP designs nutritional programs and specialized food packets to treat and prevent malnutrition in mothers and children. Last year, WFP reached more than 15 million mothers and babies with their First 1,000 Days program, helping ensure that kids get the healthy start they need.

Empowering Women With Cash-Based Assistance

Hunger is a complex issue with various causes under diverse conditions. Sometimes the most helpful way to solve hunger is by providing cash-based assistance to people so they can buy food themselves, and women are the primary purchasers of food for their families. The power to choose what groceries their family needs restores dignity and contributes to dietary diversity, an essential element of nutrition. It can also strengthen local economies and reduce food costs, waging the hunger battle on more than one front at once. WFP uploads funds to e-cards to enable people to purchase food directly themselves.

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Solving hunger will require diverse approaches from different directions, and the United Nations World Food Programme is working on many fronts at once. Figuring out what to prioritize isn't always easy, but when it comes to hunger, focusing on women and girls has proven to be an effective strategy. When we feed women, we feed the world.

To learn more about what WFP is doing to solve hunger, go to WFP USA Women & Hunger. Want to join the fight to end hunger for women? Follow #WomenAreHungrier and take the #Pledge4Moms.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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