Gender is an integral component of agriculture, nutrition, and health, yet not all women (nor all men) are the same. A4NH’s Gender, Equity, and Empowerment (GEE) unit focuses on ensuring that gender and other aspects of equity – such as poverty, ethnicity, caste, age, and location – are integrated into the program’s research and activities. In Vietnam, milk – in various forms – highlights important food and nutrition equity issues. In this blog, Jody Harris, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, reflects on how equity issues influence milk consumption based on her fieldwork for the Stories of Change in Nutrition project.
Recently, I found myself sitting on a low stool in a small, neat home in the central highlands of Vietnam, talking to three young mothers about nutrition. As part of my research, I was trying to understand how nutrition is changing in Vietnam, and one emerging story was the large disparity in nutrition outcomes between the Kinh ethnic majority in Vietnam – among whom stunting levels have dropped impressively in recent years – and ethnic minority groups living in places such as this community in the central highlands, where malnutrition rates remain persistently high. Through my translator, I finished the questions I had for the women, then asked if they had any questions for me before we ended the interview. Continue reading “Of milk and minorities: Equity and consumption in Vietnam”