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“If you want to change the world, invest in an adolescent girl.”
With these opening words to Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda, we inaugurated the Girls Count series, uncovering adolescent girl-specific data and insights to drive meaningful action to deliver concrete solutions to the challenges facing adolescent girls in developing countries. This growing body of work demonstrates how supporting adolescent girls between the ages of 10 -19 dramatically improves their lives and results in significant benefits for their families and communities. Continue reading
IFPRI Discussion Paper. Despite the fact that nonincome dimensions of well-being such as nutrition and health are now placed on the global development agenda, substantial gaps remain in our knowledge about patterns and trends in nutrition inequalities in many developing countries. The main objective of this paper is to document a useful starting point for understanding the determinants of inequalities in nutritional status and provide some understanding of the proximate causes of inequalities in nutritional status as well as the factors responsible for inequalities in health and nutritional status of children and women in the policy debate. Using Nigeria as a case study and using data from the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey, this paper measures and decomposes the patterns and trends of inequalities in child and maternal nutritional status in Nigeria.
In particular, the paper decomposes observed nutritional inequalities into inequalities between and within demographic and socioeconomic groups to ascertain the relative contributions of the between-groups and within-group components of inequalities. To identify the most vulnerable groups in Nigeria, the paper also explores the prevalence of child and maternal malnutrition in Nigeria. The paper finds that within-group inequalities are the sources of most inequalities in the nutritional status of children and women in Nigeria. Inequalities between demographic and socioeconomic groups are less important. Child and maternal malnutrition are concentrated among the least educated households, the rural population, the north (in particular its Hausa ethnic group), and those who drink water from public wells. Malnutrition in Nigeria is a vicious cycle in that child malnutrition can be partly traced back to low birth weight (and therefore to maternal malnutrition). To interrupt this vicious cycle, the Nigerian government should take targeted and concerted actions that focus attention on addressing within-group inequalities. Intervention in the areas of primary healthcare, home-based caring practices, access to basic services (such as safe drinking water and good sanitation), education of women, and direct nutritional interventions for malnourished children seem the most appropriate.
Jere R Behrman, Maria C Calderon, Samuel H Preston, John Hoddinott, Reynaldo Martorell and Aryeh D Stein
Background: Better early childhood nutrition improves schooling, adult health, skills, and wages, but there is little evidence regarding its effect on the next generation.
Objective: We assessed whether nutritional supplementation in children aged <7 to 15 y affected their children’s nutritional status 29–38 y later.
Design: We studied 791 children 0–12 y who were offspring of 401 Guatemalan women who had participated as children in a nutritional supplementation trial in which 2 villages were randomly assigned to receive a nutritious supplement (atole) and 2 were assigned to receive a less-nutritious supplement (fresco). We compared anthropometric indicators between the offspring of mothers exposed to atole and the offspring of mothers exposed to fresco.
Results: Compared with the offspring of women exposed to fresco, the offspring of women exposed to atole had a 116-g (95% CI: 17, 215 g) higher birth weight, were 1.3-cm (0.4, 2.2 cm) taller, had a 0.6-cm (0.4, 0.9 cm) greater head circumference, had a 0.26 (0.09, 0.43) greater height-for-age z score, and had a 0.20 (0.02, 0.39) greater weight-for-age z score. The association for height differed by offspring sex. Sons of women exposed to atole were 2.0-cm (95% CI: 1.0, 3.1 cm) taller than the sons of women exposed to fresco. Supplementation was not associated with 6 other offspring anthropometric indicators that reflect measures of adiposity. Supplementation in boys did not affect their children’s anthropometric measures.
Conclusion: Nutritional supplementation in girls is associated with substantial increases in their offsprings’ (more for sons) birth weight, height, head circumference, height-for-age z score, and weight-for-age z score.
MANILA, Apr 16 (IPS) – Flip open a typical textbook used in many Philippine schools and you will likely find images of women illustrating verbs such as ‘cook’ or ‘clean’, but hardly appearing anywhere much in economics and history textbooks.
These are examples of the gender miseducation that textbooks in this South-east Asian country often convey in a subtle manner, a problem that professors at the Miriam College say they are trying to fix by teaching their all-female student body about gender stereotypes at a young age.
The curriculum at the college, which is an all-female Catholic institution, thus consciously deviates from the categorisation of male and female roles that many young Filipinos, like many youngsters elsewhere, grow up with in their homes.
When talking to young students, teachers avoid describing mothers as a “good cook” or father as a “good driver” and show them that both men and women can share skills in different chores. Likewise, they introduce themes of shared parenting and shared home management as early as the first grade.
“Reactions range from students sharing proudly that in their house it’s their dads who do the cooking to being sad that their moms are always in the house, unlike other classmates whose moms go to an office,” Marita Castillo Pimentel, coordinator of the gender-fair education programme at Miriam College, said in an interview.
When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 1–2 p.m. (EDT) (GMT -5)
Who: Wendy Baldwin, Vice President and Director of the Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program, Population Council
Where: Go to http://discuss.prb.org. You may submit questions in advance and during the discussion. A full transcript of the questions and answers will be posted after the discussion.
About: Adolescent girls in developing countries confront many of the same challenges as girls do around the globe. But girls in developing countries are more likely to miss out on schooling, leaving them with limited literacy. As they enter adulthood, most will need to earn money and take responsibility for themselves and their families, but they often lack the appropriate social and health assets. Girls may face social isolation—even those living in dense urban areas—and lack essential social networks. Something as simple as an identification card may elude them, leaving them with no evidence of their legitimate place in society and at risk of not qualifying for programs that could help them. A number of programs for adolescent girls within the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program have sought to address these challenges. Some aim to help girls in urban slums, others reach into rural areas and communities where girls are at high risk of child marriage. These programs seek to increase girls’ skills and assets, establish their self-worth, and raise their value within their families and communities.
Population Reference Bureau
Women Deliver 2010, a global conference, will be held in Washington DC on June 7-9, 2010. The theme of the conference is: “Delivering solutions for girls and women,” and we plan to focus on political, economic, social/cultural, and technological solutions. This global meeting will expand on Women Deliver’s hallmark of inclusivity, reaching out to new partners and new communities. With all these partners in one room, we will further prove that maternal and reproductive health is a global priority. Women Deliver 2010 will move the dialogue to the global arena with two strong messages:
* The MDGs will not be achieved without investing in women.
* There is just enough time, if the world commits funding now, to achieve MDG5 — additional US$10 billion annually by 2010 and US$20 billion by 2015.