research institute for compassionate economics

Women reporting that men eat first

By Payal Hathi January 25th, 2018

This graph uses SARI data to show the fraction of women who report that men in their household eat before women in their household, a discriminatory practice that emphasizes women’s unequal social position and has negative health consequences.   The results range from almost 60% of women in rural Uttar Pradesh to about a third of women in Delhi.

In 2011, the IHDS first quantified this behavior by asking women: When your family eats lunch or dinner, do the women usually eat with the men?  Or do the women usually eat first?  Or do the men usually eat first?  SARI asked respondents the same question in 2016.  There was no discernable improvement in the prevalence of this practice between the two surveys, done five years apart.  In fact, in Delhi, SARI found a higher percent of women reporting eating last than was found in the IHDS in 2011.  We do not think that the percent of women in Delhi experiencing this discriminatory practice has actually gone up; rather we suspect that respondents may have been more comfortable admitting to this practice on the phone rather than in person.  This is, however, just a hypothesis; it would be useful for future research to explore differences in reporting prejudice and discrimination across survey modes.

This graph was published in “Explicit Prejudice: Evidence from a New Survey” in EPW.