The Influence of Gender and Food Insecurity on the Eating Practices of Poor, Pregnant Women in Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Author / Creator
    Levay, Adrienne
  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the interaction between rising levels of food insecurity in the urban setting and the existing gender structures and their impact on eating practices while pregnant. Using a focused-ethnography with a feminist approach in an urban slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we interviewed pregnant women and new mothers as well as older women, traditional midwives, delivery center staff and husbands. Knowledge around food practices while pregnant was largely in agreement with the western biomedical understanding of healthy pregnancy nutrition. However, women were largely unable to operationalize this knowledge due to poverty. Gender norms in the slum setting appear to be being challenged with respects to mobility and decision-making. However, limited access to sufficient quality and quantities of food overrode women’s seemingly increased level of “freedom” in the slum. A more humanistic approach to maternal nutrition programs is proposed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Global Health
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Vallianatos, Helen (Department of Anthropology)
    • Willows, Noreen (Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science)