ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Energy, Gender and Social Norms in Indigenous Rural Societies

Govind Kelkar ( is senior advisor, Landesa India, New Delhi and Regional Council Member of Asia–Pacific Forum on Law and Development, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Dev Nathan (nathandev@ is visiting professor, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi; and visiting research fellow, Center on Globalisation, Governance and Competitiveness, Duke University, the US. Patricia Mukhim ( is the editor of Shillong Times. Rosemary Dzuvichu ( is director of the Women Studies Centre, Nagaland University, and advisor to the Naga Mothers’ Association.

Studying women’s work and energy use through field studies in Khasi communities in Meghalaya and Angami communities in Nagaland, the links between energy use and women’s work and leisure are explored. It is found that the choice of energy source is closely linked with women’s participation in the management of energy resources, their opportunities to earn incomes, and their ability to negotiate the cultural and social norms of their communities. Energy planning cannot stop with the provision of household access to electricity or liquefied petroleum gas. A new deal for women in the energy sector is delineated, which relates to overcoming sociocultural limits and increasing the opportunity cost of women’s labour and their right to assets.


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