Anaemia impairs health and well being in women and increases the risk of maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes. Anaemia affects half a billion women of reproductive age worldwide. In 2011, 29% (496 million) of non-pregnant women and 38% (32.4 million) of pregnant women aged 15–49 years were anaemic. The prevalence of anaemia was highest in south Asia and central and west Africa. While the causes of anaemia are variable, it is estimated that half of cases are due to iron deficiency. In some settings, considerable reductions in the prevalence of anaemia have been achieved; however, overall, progress has been insufficient. Further actions are required to reach the World Health Assembly target of a 50% reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age by 2025.