The Nepal Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) reported that 29 percent of children under five are malnourished, and in the remote north-west this number jumps to more than half of all children being chronically malnourished. The prime reason for malnourishment is discrimination in feeding the male and female child.
Locals and experts agree that gender discrimination is the reason why children in Nepal die in spite of the fact that enough food is produced to feed them.
The north-west area of Nepal experiences wide spread bias against girls and women as the birth of a boy is celebrated and on the contrary a girl’s birth is hardly acknowledged. When it comes to nutrition and the distribution of food within families, girls are neglected because they are thought not to need strength.
In this part of the world, women live hard lives full of physical demands. It is common to see women and girls walking along the road from one village to the next, bearing the weight of baskets of apples, rocks or bags of rice, while men and boys tag alongside unburdened.
It is also common that boys and husbands eat first and are offered the most nutritious food, often leaving girls and women with leftovers.
Research indicates that about half of stunting in children occurs before birth and up to two years old. So girls are not fed well, do not grow up into healthy individuals and thus give birth to weak kids and the vicious circle continues. Experts have stated that breaking the cycle of malnutrition in girls and women will not only improve their quality of life, but will also create positive outcome for society through improving women’s mental and cognitive abilities, two things strongly affected by malnutrition.