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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.


A mother risks health by delivery of a girl

Published 20th April 2010 - 4 comments - 2093 views -

A mother risks health by delivery of a girl

When a mother without any problems survives her first childbirth and gives life to a beautiful girl, she often does not have time to give her daughter sufficient care.  She has to cope with different duties instead. The reason is her family and community hoping mainly in a son and expecting her to get pregnant soon again. So the tradition of preference of a son has unfortunately impact also on the mother’s and her firstborn daughter’s health. The mother is often extremely exhausted by the second childbirth coming very soon after the first one. It increases the health hazard and has influence also on higher mortality of women caused by immediate pregnancy and delivery. As for the girl, the woman cannot breast-feed her because of her new pregnancy, so “the girl does not have enough nutrition which significantly marks the high mortality rate of the girls under 5 years of life,” comments Ms Patel from small Indian NGO.

Women suffer from malnutrition

Poverty and hard work cannot conduce to proper state of health of girls and women across the age groups. On the contrary almost 70 percent of Indian women suffer from malnutrition and also from other diseases which are connected to it. The reasons are hard physical work and poverty of the Indian countryside as well as cultural habits and traditional attitude to women. It is common that a woman eats the least and as the last. She eats often the food which remains after her husband’s dining. The dining order is the following: the first one is the husband (father), than his children (first boys and than girls) and the last is the mother. The rest of the food left on the poor table cannot be enough for healthy and substantial diet. This custom does not have exceptions and a pregnant woman must keep this rule. Unfortunately malnutrition expecting mother gives life to malnutrition children too. “It is a never-ending circle which is recurring during the centuries. And naturally it has great impact on the high number of mortality among women and children,” comments Vibhuti from UNICEF.

“Who should eat first” training

A European, who wants to familiarize with work of Indian NGOs, can be surprised how strong an emphasis is being put on education and training which should explain the right habits in dining and how many people in India study subjects connected to right nutrition. It is not only about training families and women in the correct structure of their diet. NGOs are also trying to explain to the whole family why it is necessary to break these many years old customs and let the women eat with other family members at the same time. This kind of prevention of malnutrition is cheaper than various expensive medical programmes which should treat this disease. This tiny change in understanding women’s position during dining can save many lives. It is not without reason that the legendary ex-prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru said: “You can tell the condition of the nation by looking at the status of its women.”

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  • Hanna Clarys on 20th April 2010:

    Why are men always perceived as more valuable than women? Why are they getting more advantages, more importance, more rights? All people are equal, but some are more equal than others?

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 21st April 2010:


    Thanks for this post. It’s true. It’s very dangerous everytime a woman gives birth. Who was it who said that a woman has one foot on the grave when she gives birth? I like the way Nehru put it. Hope the situation improves around the globe. Let’s keep guard on this.

  • Giedre Steikunaite on 21st April 2010:

    Hanna, you know it’s really sad when people assume for some reason that we have already reached equality and women should stop complaining. We’re so far away from real equality!

  • Radovana Jagrikova on 26th April 2010:

    “You can tell the condition of the nation by looking at the status of its women.” A great idea, and a great ending to the well-written article that inspires a reader to find out more about the issue. Good job.

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