Are Men Useless? (Indian Government Says Yes)

Are men useless, at least when it comes to caring for a family?
India’s recent draft food security bill, currently in front of Parliament, seems to suggest so.
The bill proposes a radical shift — it requires that women become the “heads of household” for the purpose of issue of ration cards. A man would only be an acceptable household head if there is no woman over the age of 18 in the family to assign the ration card to.
India has about 330 million families who rely on ration cards. Currently a head of household, for ration card purposes, is defined by family members themselves. According to the provisional figures of the last census (2011) only 10.35 percent of the total households are headed by women.
The change was proposed after a look at some hard facts, some of which have been recognized as early as the 1970s.
The International Food Policy Research Institute discovered through its studies that agricultural productivity increases dramatically when women get the same amount of inputs men get, such as access to education and to labor, fertilizer.  Other studies show that when women control household resources they are more likely to benefit children than when controlled by men.
Studies from India too suggest that men are more likely to spend aid money on non-essential items such as alcohol.
“Women contribute as much as 90 percent of their income towards their home while men tend to spend their income on non-essential items such as alcohol,” Bina Agarwal, director of the Institute of Economic Growth, said.
N.C. Saxena, a member of the National Advisory Council, points out another issue limiting men trying to care for families: pride. Men don’t or won’t admit that hunger exists in their family because it hurts their self-image, Mr. Saxena argues.
In countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Mexico and Sri Lanka, food coupons are already directed at women rather than their spouses. The idea has global appeal.
The microfinance sector has for long targeted women as participants not just to empower them, but also because research shows they use money for community-friendly projects and are more likely to pay the loans back.
This year the United Nations has entitled the theme of International Women’s Day as “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty.” In the current 56th session of United Nations Commission on the Status of Women the focus is on the work by women that is “vital to the well-being of families and communities, and of local and national economies.”
Increasingly, female-focused research and aid is no longer about women being the “weaker sex” in need of help, but recognizing their value as members of the household and community.
In India, requiring households to put women at their head may not work, Himanshu, an assistant professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University who goes by only one name said.
“Women are reluctant to take up such positions, because they are seen as undermining the role of men,” Mr. Himanshu said, based on his fieldwork. “It creates friction within households,” he adds.
The idea of an official card with a lady’s photograph on it and her signature or thumb print as the household head may not be acceptable to entire communities in India, reports suggest.

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About KAYCEE WEEZY!

I am somewhat of a geek!

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