Nutrition Knowledge and Women's Empowerment Improve Child Nutrition Outcomes in Rural Ethiopia

Ending malnutrition in its various forms is a key policy challenge for national and international development efforts. The long-standing approach to ending malnutrition in poor countries has had its focus primarily on improving the availability and affordability of food. However, while increased food production is required for food availability, it does not in itself guarantee that poor and vulnerable people have access to enough food, nor does the gross quantity produced say much about the quality or nutritional value of people’s diets. As a result, poor nutrition outcomes are not always the result of resource constraints but also of other factors related to poor consumer food choice behaviours and eating practices. One such widely acknowledged factor is women’s role in improving children’s nutrition outcomes. Women are more likely than men to invest in children’s well-being, and generally, income and other resources controlled by women tend to wield strong effects on health and nutrition outcomes. The Ethiopian government has long started taking policy measures to improve women’s empowerment. Two recent such policies are the joint household land certification and reform in the country’s family code. Both policies seek to improve the status of women by emphasizing and strengthening gender equality and non-discrimination based on gender.