Seminar: Gender biases in dietary diversity in India

Date and Time

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 12:45

Event type



LIDC, Upper Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD


Dr. Elisabetta Aurino, Research Fellow, Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London

Speaker bio

Dr. Aurino obtained her PhD in Development Economics from the University Roma Tre in Italy where she focused on the measurement of multidimensional phenomena, particularly food security and childhood poverty.The suite of indicators she developed during her PhD is now being used by FAO in order to track global progress around food security. Before joining the Partnership for Child Development in July 2014, Elisabetta worked at Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty at the University of Oxford, where she still holds the position of research associate. Also, she offered extensive consultancy for FAO Statistics Division in Rome and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa in New York on food security


This paper investigates the dynamics of gender inequality in the allocation of foods of different nutritional quality within households in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. Specifically, by using three rounds of survey data collected in 2006, 2009 and 2013 by the Young Lives study, the paper analyses the evolution of a specific dimension of food security, dietary diversity, over the life-course of two cohorts of children at 5, 8 and 12 years old, and 12 and 15 years old respectively. The paper shows that while no or slight gender-based disparities in dietary diversity exist at age 5, 8 or 12 years old, substantial pro-boy biases are found at 15 years old. In particular, girls in the midst of their adolescence tend to systematically consume less of protein- and vitamin-rich foods, such as meat, legumes and eggs, and fruit and roots. This finding has relevant policy implications for investing in adolescent girls’ nutrition, which, beyond being a development objective per se, is key in order to break the intergenerational transmission of malnutrition.

Elisabetta Aurino presentation audio (MP3)