In India, requiring households to put women at their head may not work…

Who would you say is seen as (traditionally) ‘the custodian of food and nutritional security’ in a family? (My comments in red.)

“Numerous household expenditure surveys from a variety of contexts show that women are more likely to spend their income on food and child welfare (such as education and health care) while men spend more on personal consumption (alcohol, tobacco and other leisure) and on agricultural inputs” [Link]

So the recommendation below makes a lot of sense?

“Unnoticed among the NAC recommendations that have been accepted by the government, .. lies a radical new proposal that has the potential to re-arrange the power play in the family and in society: the ration card will be issued in the name of the adult woman in the household.

…” [ Lady of the house now head of the family ]

Why call it power play? Empowering women to feed their children is not other family members’ dis-empowerment.


Under the chapter titled “Women’s Empowerment” in the Bill passed …the eldest woman in the family, not less than 18 years of age, shall be deemed to be the head of the household for the purpose of distribution of ration cards in every household, ‘priority’ as well as ‘general’, under the Bill. Additionally, according to the Bill, in case of a household that does not have an adult woman, but has female members below the age of 18, such members will become the head of the household on turning 18. Only in case of a household with no female member, will an adult male be treated as head of the family.” [ Lady of the house now head of the family ]”

Looks like harassment like this would become a thing of past?

We don’t issue ration cards to married women unless they adopt their husband’s surname after marriage. Maybe an order came about allowing it, I don’t know. If a married woman wants to keep her maiden name after marriage, we will not issue the new ration card in the usual manner. We will send her application to higher authorities and then we will proceed as they say.” [link]

But here’s somebody who doesn’t sound too happy.  He doesn’t seem to think unmarried little men and little women matter as much as married men who need to be taken care of by their spouses.

“A male resident of Kochi said, “It has to be seen how food security of husbands would be ensured if the ownership of ration cards is surrendered to women at a time when they are not keen on taking care of the needs of their husbands.” PTI  [Link]

Maybe he should follow the excellent example given below?

‘Community kitchen’ gives Bohra women freedom from cooking

“…she has stopped cooking for the family. Instead, she has started making imitation jewellery at home and added to the earnings of her husband, an autorickshaw driver.

… hundreds of women like her from the Dawoodi Bohra community have been unshackled from the hearth thanks to the ‘community kitchen’, a concept floated by their religious head Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin about four years ago in Mumbai. The community high priest promoted this idea so that women could devote time for religious activities, focus on children’s education or even start small businesses

Murtuza Fakri, who manages one of five common kitchens in the city, says a five-day training programme is held for the cooks of the community kitchen.

“Bohra families are spread over 13 different localities in the city. About half of them get food from the common kitchen,” he says. “The idea is to give nutritious food to all. The community is promoting the practice worldwide.”

The prices of tiffins vary from area to area. However, there are many people who contribute much more than their fixed sum so that some poor families get tiffins at subsidized prices.” [Read more]

K. shared a link that seemed concerned that Indian women would not want the ration cards to be issued in their names . And why. Do you agree?

“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. [link]”