Women and food security: a comparison of South Asia and Southeast Asia

Women are a social group vulnerable to food insecurity despite being primary actors in the food chain. The problem of food insecurity among women is especially rampant in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Vulnerability to food insecurity has a definite effect on the health of women and children, as well as social and economic impacts in terms of fewer opportunities for education and greater instances of early marriages. A comparison of indicators used to assess vulnerabilities of women in the two regions shows that the overall situation in South Asia is worse than that in Southeast Asia. The primary securitising actors at the national, regional and international levels have to play an individual and collective role in rectifying the situation. It is equally mandatory for regional groupings such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to provide a sound systemic environment for individual countries to work towards achieving these objectives.