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Women, not men, are the family breadwinners in most of the world, where sex discrimination against them is a major cause of poverty, according to a Worldwatch report released this weekend.

But women worldwide still earn less, the report says, echoing the conclusions of an International Labor Organization report last week.Women in African countries spend more hours cultivating, harvesting, transporting, storing and processing food then men, says the new report by Worldwatch researcher Jodi L. Jacobson.

"A condition that afflicts every social institution from individual families to international development organizations, gender bias is an enormous stumbling block on the road to a sustainable economy," the report says, citing statistics, studies and Jacobson's own research in India.

In countries with 3 billion of the world's estimated 5.5 billion people, women are the primary earners for their families, putting them in a key economic role, the report says.

But, because they are discriminated against in wages, land ownership and lending, they are inhibited from contributing to their nations' economies, it concludes.

Bias against women is also the single most important cause of rapid population growth, says the Worldwatch report. Worldwatch is a Washington-based nonprofit, independent research group that studies a variety of global problems.

"Where women have little access to productive resources and little control over family income, they depend on children for social status and economic security," Jacobson said in the report.