India’s recent draft food security bill … . proposes a radical shift — it requires that women become the “heads of household” for the purpose of issue of ration cards. A man would only be an acceptable household head if there is no woman over the age of 18 in the family to assign the ration card to.
… . The International Food Policy Research Institute discovered through its studies that agricultural productivity increases dramatically when women get the same amount of inputs men get, such as access to education and to labor, fertilizer. Other studies show that when women control household resources they are more likely to benefit children than when controlled by men.
Studies from India too suggest that men are more likely to spend aid money on non-essential items such as alcohol.
… . N.C. Saxena, a member of the National Advisory Council, points out another issue limiting men trying to care for families: pride. Men don’t or won’t admit that hunger exists in their family because it hurts their self-image, Mr. Saxena argues.
In countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Mexico and Sri Lanka, food coupons are already directed at women rather than their spouses.