Despite progress on many fronts, India still struggles with malnutrition rates that rival sub-Sarahan Africa, even as its economy continues to expand and income levels continue to push upwards.
But there’s a growing body of evidence that shows, not surprisingly, that these stubbornly intractable malnutrition rates have a common link: women’s ability to access and control resources.
Now, thanks to the efforts of organizations like Landesa, all across India national and state governments are developing programs designed to help women in their country have secure rights to land. This could mean owning land jointly with their husbands or on their own. But the benefits of women owning property are unmistakeable.
A study in Nepal found that children are less likely to be underweight if their mothers own land. Another study in Ghana found that when a woman owns a larger share of the household’s farmland families allocate more of their household budget to food.
Those benefits have tangible results as well. In economic terms, treating health deficiencies and reduced mental capacity related to malnourishment costs the country an estimated $28bn per year. And that is just one country.
What better way could there be to honor the mothers of the world than by helping make sure all women have access to the resources they need to take care of their children? Legal rights to own and control property are of paramount need and can bring the most lasting change, not only in the the lives of each woman, but of all of us.
Photo from mckaysavage via flickr.