The Intrafamily Distribution of Hunger in South Asia
This chapter states that discrimination in intrafamily feeding practices and nutrient allocation in South Asia exists, and that this is far from being dramatic in nature. An index of intrafamily distribution of hunger is developed to address the analytical bias arising from the use of atypical data. It reveals that discrimination in feeding does not automatically imply discrimination in nutrition, and the latter does not necessarily imply disadvantage in welfare. Discrimination against women happens because the labour markets are structured in favour of males; the discrimination against a female child is an outcome of cultural and religious factors; for discrimination against small children, material, biological, and sociological explanations exist. The chapter's suggested policies to remedy nutritional discrimination include nutrition education aimed at mothers, on-site or take-home supplementary feeding schemes and mother-child health schemes, an elevation in the economic status of women, and public distribution system.