With gender equality becoming a key feature of the global food security agenda, international organizations have produced a rich body of knowledge on gender. This paper argues that such gender expertise generates political effects through identity constructions, problem definitions and rationalities. We critically analyse 59 documents relating to gender and food security in the South written in international organizations between 2000 and 2018. Our analysis reveals two gendered constructions articulated in these documents – the productive female farmer and the caring woman food securer. We demonstrate that problem definitions, solutions, and rationalities associated with these identity constructions are contradictory. Their juxtaposition reveals that gender expertise in international food security discourse is not only governed by neoliberal orthodoxy but also surfaces ambivalences and alternatives.