ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Value of Rural Women’s Labour in Production and Wood Fuel Use

How do gender-related factors influence cooking fuel use? Why does an LPG capital subsidy lead to fuel stacking rather than fuel switching? The insights gained from authors’ research are supplemented by case studies, specifically aimed at exploring the connections between women’s labour time and fuel use. Using these observations and case studies, an analytical framework is developed, which yields propositions that can be tested empirically, such as the high value of women’s labour in production leading to the adoption of labour-saving cooking fuel and vice versa. This framework is used to assess the limitations of capital subsidies forLPG in remote rural areas where women’s labour has a low opportunity cost.

Energy Use and Women’s Work in Agriculture

Changes in women’s use of energy in agriculture, in the spheres of crop production and social reproduction, can bring about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Two technological changes—the shift from household cooking with carbon-emitting solid biomass fuels to liquified petroleum gas as a clean cooking fuel; and the shift from methane-emitting flooded rice cultivation to the System of Rice Intensification with electricity-based alternate wetting and drying—have been considered in this regard. The changes in women’s roles and energy use accompanying these technological interventions have been examined.

Energy, Gender and Social Norms in Indigenous Rural Societies

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.

The Fog of Entitlement

The study examines the experience of women farmers who lack rights to land and related factors of production, and provides insights into a number of conditions that hamper rural women's right to agricultural land. Further, it explores how inheritance practices disfavour women, and those women who claim land encounter many institutional and non-institutional constraints. In conclusion, the paper suggests policy and practice measures for women's economic empowerment that may facilitate the process of closing gender gaps.

Gender and Productive Assets: Implications for Women's Economic Security and Productivity

Asset ownership and control rights are preferable to numerous policy alternatives for women's empowerment. This paper is an attempt at drawing attention to the complex inter-relationship between women agricultural producers and their lack of rights to land and related factors of production. It further explores implications of women's marginal rights to land for their economic security and agricultural productivity.

Development Effectiveness through Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is a process to achieve greater gender equality and overcome the costs of women's marginalisation. Unequal gender relations distribute the burden of poverty disproportionately on women. They can also be the cause of poverty among women and girls in non-poor families. These unequal relations therefore need to be addressed both as a cause and as a factor in the intensification of poverty. Empowerment of women has to go beyond mere instrumentalism and begin with first addressing questions of women's agency, their well-being and self-esteem and then that of their families and communities.

Redefining Women's 'Samman'

In Bangladesh, the unintended consequences of the microcredit system with NGOs as partners have been far-reaching. The very structure of social production that focused on 'man as the breadwinner' has changed to accommodate a substantial and permanent role for women as income-earners. A clue to the far-reaching consequences of this transformation is the manner in which gender norms of respect are being re-created from glorifying 'purdah-nashin' women to valuing independent income, education, work outside the home, mobility and professional engagement. Such changes have in turn, led to substantial alterations in the norms and concepts by which women define their terms of engagement with the world.

Agrarian Involution, Domestic Economy and Women

Seeing the Asian crisis in only its urban dimensions, it is very easy to conclude that the crisis affects mainly men who have lost their jobs in construction. But though that statement is not true even of the urban economy, when the rural economy is brought into the picture, the role of the domestic economy and of women within it are both sharply brought out. In order to comprehend the rural dimensions of the Asian crisis, the authors take the example of Thailand, with some supplementary material from Malaysia and Indonesia.


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