News / Asia

Hunger in Focus: India's Hungry Women and Children Remain a Major Problem

Two-Thirds of the world's one-billion hungry people live in Asia. Through this series of reports, VOA's English to Asia Service aims to draw attention to the problems of hunger as part of World Food Day - 16 October

Empowering women is seen as a remedy for India's malnutrition problem
Empowering women is seen as a remedy for India's malnutrition problem
Ira Mellman

India's first Prime Minister once said, "You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women."

With that in mind, Jawaharlal Nehru's quote puts India in critical condition.

Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world and producing a surplus of food, India is ranked number 67 among 84 countries listed in the 2010 Global Hunger Index issued Monday by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

It ranks well behind China, which is listed at number nine, while neighboring Pakistan is fifty second on the list. India even ranks behind countries in sub Saharan Africa on the index.

“India has the largest number of hungry children in the world”, says John Coonrod, Executive Vice President of the Hunger Project, a globally based, non-profit, organization whose self proclaimed aim is the sustainable end of world hunger.

Coonrod quoted a UNICEF study in 1996 that said the only reason the rates of malnutrition in South Asia are so high is the subjugation of woman in society.

That results of that study have been repeated many times, including last year's Global Hunger Index report, in which Agnes Quisumbing, report co-author and International Food Policy Research Institute senior research fellow writes “In South Asia, women’s low social status and limited access to schooling have dire consequences for the nutrition, health, and well being of both mothers and their children.”

The Hunger Project's Coonrod says “Some of these women have been so marginalized that they have not even heard their names spoken. It affects the health of both the women and their children."

“Discrimination against girls and women results in girls being breast fed for less time than boys so that hopefully, the mother can become pregnant again and have a boy," said Coonrod, who said "Girls are taught to eat less and least, they are married too young  and have children when they, themselves are too young and malnourished. So this cycle of malnutrition that is caused by gender discrimination gets perpetuated from generation to generation.”

Coonrod says there are good answers to the situation. He said one has been a constitutional amendment passed by India in the nineties guaranteeing that a third of the seats in village councils would be held by women.

He says this has lead to changes that continue to accelerate as woman become more and more effective in leadership positions despite reports of increased violence against women in India. However, Coonrod says opposition to women in leadership positions is decreasing as the population sees how woman are proving themselves as leaders.

Several of the states in India, says Coonrod, have felt so good about empowering women that they have increased the percentage of women officials from one third to one half. So, says Coonrod, “there is real evidence that things are changing and changing rapidly.”

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid