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

Padmini SwaminathanSubscribe to Padmini Swaminathan

The Banaras Sari Industry

Entangled Yarns: Banaras Weavers and Social Crisis by Vasanthi Raman (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study), 2013; pp 126, Rs 350.

Sharmila Rege (1964-2013)

Sociologist, feminist scholar, writer and activist Sharmila Rege was successful in bringing the structural violence of caste and its linkages with sexuality and labour into the feminist discourse. She made the Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women's Studies Centre of Pune University into a vibrant hub which not only gained from other disciplines but also created a bilingual system of teaching and training along with a unique syllabus that deserves to be emulated widely.

Intersections of Gender and Caste

This edition focuses on the relations between caste and gender and explores the intersectionalities involved. It includes articles exploring the politics of feminism and dalit activism located in urban spaces, in working class sites, through labour, "traditional" rituals, issues of honour and inter-caste marriage.

The Making and Unmaking of 'Development'

History of Development Thought: A Critical Anthology edited by R Srivatsan (New Delhi: Routledge), 2012; pp 304, Rs 795.

State Policy and the Twelfth Plan through a Gender Lens

The rapidly changing urban scenario seems to have important implications for gendering governance in Kerala. Thus, besides the different histories mediated by caste and community, the spatial location of women leaders in local governance appears to be of central importance in shaping their agency. This article which is based on the research about women leaders in local governance in Kerala in 2005-10 explores the extent to which success in local governance allowed these women entry into politics and gave them a greater presence within the public life. Generally it is seen that successful women leaders are often the bearers of a specific form of power that has been historically associated with the deployment of sentiment and affect, and ideal femininity, and that such power is understood to be crucial to local governance as well. However, an entirely different picture emerged from this study on women leaders of urban governance. Besides gentle power, successful women attribute their success equally to knowledge - of official norms and procedures.

Outside the Realm of Protective Labour Legislation: Saga of Unpaid Labour in India

Within the large, growing segment called the unorganised economy, the dominant category is that of the self-employed, within which a significant percentage of women work as "unpaid family workers". While women's work and women as workers suffer exclusion from protective legislation, this paper traces the trajectory of simultaneous exclusion and inclusion of women by going back to some of the seminal documents that were the outcomes of officially constituted commissions and committees. Through a critical reading of these documents, this paper revisits some of the arguments and recommendations of these bodies. It provides an overview of the dimensions of the problem of the low level and poor quality of employment in the country, with a specific emphasis on the categories that capture women's work. It engages with specific aspects of ineffectiveness of protective labour laws as far as women are concerned. It also reflects on the larger implications of the continued expansion in the numbers of, and time involved in, "unpaid labour", as well as the continued denial of worker status to women.

Exclusions From and Inclusions In 'Development': Implications for 'Engendering Development'

Using official reports and supplemented with field notes, this paper examines the quantum and nature of exclusion from and inclusion in "development". Data reveal that for women, education and employment move in opposite directions, literacy among women workers is lower than literacy among non-working women and development is not closing the gender gap. The bulk of women "included" in development disproportionately constitute the unorganised workers; the latter are those in the unorganised sector plus those working in the formal sector as informal workers. Given such a macro context, the paper is sceptical of the feminist agenda of engendering development.

Mainstreaming Gender, Engendering Development: Reflections on a Case Study

Mainstreaming gender and engendering development has now become a part of feminist and development discourse. This paper is a case study of the mv Foundation, which has implemented its programme of "Empowering Women through Collective Action" in the Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh. It shows how this foundation had consciously and concretely incorporated aspects that have the potential to mainstream gender as well as engender development. It also describes how the foundation identified the most marginalised among the rural population, apprised them of the existing rural and land-based programmes of the government and acted as a catalyst to source these programmes.

Making It Relevant

What is women's studies? Is it a discipline? A subject? What should a women's studies programme connote and what obtains in practice? Through a survey, this paper attempts to map the different aspects of the women's studies programme in institutions of higher education of Tamil Nadu. The contention of the paper is that the forms and conditions of the institutionalisation of women's studies in places of higher education to a large extent constrained the possibilities of carrying out research in this area as an academic discipline. The paper has important implications for bodies such as the University Grants Commission that, at one level, have been in the forefront of the institutionalisation of the women's studies movement in India, particularly in the 1990s, but, at another level, have failed to achieve the kinds of intellectual and political changes promised by the founders of this discipline in India.

Grappling with the 'Informal' Economy

illustration of the nature and depth of disjunct between the official portrayal of Grappling with the the dimensions of the industry and what the author

Tamil Nadu's Midday Meal Scheme

Tamil Nadu's noon-cum-nutritious meal scheme is the country's largest in terms of the number of beneficiaries covered. There is little doubt that enrolment and retention of children, including girl children, in schools have shown significant improvement. Besides, drop-out rates have shown a decline. However, as this paper analyses, there is now a need to seriously re-examine the orginal rationale for the scheme, namely, getting children to school and retaining them. In the two decades of the scheme's existence, the educational profile as well as the nature of problems at the ground level have changed significantly. Much of this is not reflected in the data presented and available with the government. On the other hand, the scheme has not been able to bring all children to school. If the midday meal is to retain its effectiveness and relevance, it may have to be modified in the light to these changes.

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