Gender discrimination around the world has resulted in the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunities -- but many might be surprised to know that it also extends to the way men and women share their meals.
In a video released by BRAC, a Bangladesh-based NGO which focuses on creating opportunities for the world's poor, married couple Hasina and Musharaf explain how going through gender equality training with the nonprofit changed their partnership and their eating habits.
Prior to the training, Hasina and Musharaf, who live in Kishorganj, Bangladesh, reported that they rarely ate together.
"We ate separately on our own time," Hasina said. "Sometimes the husband ate first and left nothing for the wife."
Hasina and Musharaf's story is not an isolated one. A 2013 report from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations found a "strong correlation" between gender inequality and hunger. Across the world, about 60 percent of undernourished people are women or girls, the U.N has found.
According to Musharaf, unequal distribution of food wasn't the only inequality in their marriage.
"I didn’t help her with anything," Musharaf said. "Even if she asked me to do something, I wouldn’t do it."
But, after the training, Musharaf’s perspective shifted. He came to understand that if he and Hasina worked together, as partners, they would both be better off.
The transition didn’t come without its obstacles, though. "The people of the village used to make fun of my husband for listening to me," Hasina said.
But since neighbors have seen how much happier the couple is, the teasing has stopped and others are exploring this new approach.
One of the biggest changes in their day-to-day life is mealtime. "Now ... we all share the food and eat together," Hasina said.
The importance of Musharaf and Hasina's story is underscored by a recent report, released by the United Nations, which showed that efforts to advance women’s rights have been "unequal and fragmented." While some areas have made progress, women living in the world’s poorest countries have not seen these advances, the report found.
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