Meanwhile, energy prices have left families with no choice but to continue using low-tech fossil fuels, exposing women and girls to household air pollution, which kills 3.2 million people each year.
“That is simply the only way to be certain that their rights and needs are fully taken into account as we respond to the clear facts before us”, said Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director.
The policy paper developed by gender agency UN Women and the Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group, describes how the war has widened gender gaps in hunger, education and poverty, and has also increased gender-based violence.
Rural food insecurity
The report warns of an “alarming” increase in gender-based violence, transactional sex for food and survival, sexual exploitation, and trafficking, not only in Ukraine but worldwide, amid worsening living conditions.
The report calls on the international community to promote the right to food by targeting the specific nutrition needs of women and girls and accelerating the transformation towards more equitable gender-responsive and sustainable food systems.
The document notes that women-headed households in Ukraine were already more food insecure before the war, with 37.5 per cent of them experiencing moderate or severe levels of food insecurity, compared to 20.5 per cent of male-headed households.
Sexual violence on the rise
Women have also reduced their own food intake, so that other family members can have more, amid food price hikes and shortages.
“Systemic, gendered crises require systemic, gendered solutions. That means ensuring that women and girls, including from marginalized groups, are part of all the decision-making processes.
For example, school-aged girls are now at a higher risk of being forced out of school and into marriage, as a way for desperate families simply to make ends meet.
Currently, rural women in Russian occupied territories are not able to do agricultural work due to high insecurity and lack of resources. However, they are having to accommodate internally displaced people, multiplying their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities.