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

Maithreyi KrishnarajSubscribe to Maithreyi Krishnaraj

Understanding Violence against Women

Violence can be visible or invisible or camouflaged in moral terms. It is always a coercive instrument to uphold or enforce cultural codes of honour. The articles in this special issue have discussed different forms of atrocities against women.

Reclaiming an Incipient Feminism

Feminism Crossing Thresholds. Feminist Essays in Social History by Meera Kosambi; Permanent Black, Mumbai/NewDelhi, MAITHREYI KRISHNARAJ Meera Kosambi is a well known scholar on Maharashtra

Food Security, Agrarian Crisis and Rural Livelihoods

The livelihood of more than half of India's working population is involved in agriculture and its allied activities. Despite there being an increase in the quantity of foodgrains being produced domestically as well as in the imports of foodgrains, India has been unable to achieve food security. The group most adversely affected by this is women in agriculture: their contribution to farm labour is hardly recognised; they are remunerated poorly and they suffer from chronic energy deficiency.

Is 'Gender' Easy to Study?

Even if women's studies centres concentrated more on academic work rather than the action programmes imposed on them by the University Grants Commission, would they be equipped to do so? Most women's studies practitioners skirt the tricky issues of methodology and concept and march ahead bravely, meticulously documenting "women's oppression". The tragedy is that this empiricism does not equip us in developing our own theoretical foundations. If we want women's studies to be an interdisciplinary enterprise, we will have to see if it can be integrated as a specific epistemology to rebuild the existing structure of knowledge by creating new organising concepts, methodologies, skills and reciprocal assimilation of various disciplines.

The Microcosm in Demography

Demography Beyond Demography: Dialogue with People Collection of essays reprinted from by Ashish Bose; BR Publishing Corporation, Delhi, wrote what he felt, what he saw, what he learnt from various sources

Research in Women Studies

Women studies as a discipline is by now securely established in several universities and research centres. The time, however, has come to critically evaluate the discipline, especially the research that emanates from women studies centres. This article argues for research in the subject to be imbued with more vigour. This implies a greater self-awareness but also an understanding of the past and of earlier endeavours and interventions. Methodologies selected and methods adopted for study must be critically selected to suit the context of study. Moreover, research findings should ostensibly seek to benefit the subject as well. If findings are widely collated, it could also help foster and develop a better understanding of the subject.

Food Security: How and For Whom?

Food security is contingent on three parameters - availability, accessibility and affordability. While availability and accessibility relate to production and distribution, the question of affordability is linked to Amartya Sen's concepts of 'endowment' and 'exchange entitlements', that is, the resources at one's disposal that determines one's capacity to buy food. The papers in this collection on gender and food security deal precisely with this problem of endowment and exchange entitlement, especially with regard to women. They seek to draw attention to the resources, mainly employment, available to women for procuring food. However, apart from inadequate opportunities for wage labour, lack of command over productive resources acts as a major constraint on those women who do undertake farming for the household. Participation in the production of food, moreover, does not guarantee commensurate returns. All the papers deal with rice farming, but they are illustrative of the general situation regarding food security among poor women and point to the urgency of public measures for the protection of this vulnerable section.

Sieving Budgets for Gender

Gender budgeting exercises attempt to assess how far prevailing gender-based biases are incorporated into budgetary exercises. Such analyses also provide women with vital information regarding the contents and focus of existing government policies. The aim is to promote greater transparency and enhance democracy. After the late 1990s, when gender budgeting exercises were first set in motion, such exercises have quickly come into vogue and many scholars have undertaken them. This period has also been marked by shifts in economic policies, especially in developing countries. Reforms in the name of development that have had a pernicious effect on women have been implemented. Recent studies in India have looked at the many well-intentioned public schemes that have failed to achieve significant results. The set of papers included in this review illustrates the progress made so far. While there is still need for crucial interaction between analysis and the structures of gender that currently exist in society as well as with the elements necessary for transforming gender relations, these efforts, as presented here, are a step towards opening a meaningful dialogue with policy-makers to make them appreciate exactly what it is that women want and in what form.

Gender Budgeting Analysis

This paper attempts to examine some basic data on women in agriculture and analyses the state budgets of Maharashtra, for the period 1998 to 2002, for their impact on women. It finds that most policies in the plans and budgets of the agriculture and allied sectors do not create positive boosts for women workers, in terms of creating special opportunities, being gender sensitive, or ensuring equitable intra-household distribution of benefits. At the same time, there is no clear evidence of policies creating an adverse impact on women, possibly because negative effects might not yet be fully known or understood within the existing knowledge base.

Does EGS Require Restructuring for Poverty Alleviation and Gender Equality?

The Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) initiated in Maharashtra in the early 1970s is the oldest and the largest public works programme in the developing world. It has been the subject of numerous studies that have highlighted the positive effects of EGS on the rural economy of Maharashtra. Yet none of these has furnished concrete evidence for most of these inferred effects. Moreover, there have been no investigations since the 1990s, when both the rural economy of Maharashtra and the EGS have undergone significant changes in size, character and direction. This article reviews the EGS to assess whether it requires restructuring for poverty alleviation and gender equality. Part I of the article (which appeared in the issue of April 17, 2004) examined the concept, design and delivery system of the EGS, so as to assess its effectiveness against poverty and pinpoint its limitations. Part II highlights the issues including gender concerns that need to be addressed before restructuring the scheme.


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