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

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Protecting Women or Endangering the Emigration Process

The paper discusses the case of emigrant women domestic workers from Kerala, a state which has had a long history of migration of workers in this segment. It draws attention to the critical failure of the social science scholarship to address the question of poor women migrants. It also provides an overview of state policy on migration and underlines its complicity in generating regulatory gaps. The paper engages with the gendering of citizenship and sovereignty through a comparison of the state policy on migrant women workers and the experience of three segments of this workforce - emigrant nurses, domestic workers and outmigrant fish processing workers. It then considers the question of agency in the context of women workers who are thrust into the position of breadwinners for their families and, finally, the question of responsible state intervention.

Gender Equality in Local Governance in Kerala

Women's entry into governance through reservations is expected to be part of a long-term process of fostering gender equality. In this context, it is imperative to explore the issue of the accountability of male representatives. This article offers an analysis of a workshop held in Thiruvananthapuram, exclusively for newly elected male representatives. It shows that gender-just outcomes would require much more than a minimal transfer of resources to women or opposition to offences against women.

Essays on Politics, Matriliny and the Media in Kerala

Media and Modernity: Communications, Women and the State in India by Robin Jeffrey (New Delhi: Permanent Black), 2010; pp 320, Rs 695.

Looking beyond Gender Parity

Kerala has been considered relatively free from the conventional restrictions against women's education and employment, or women owning property. Indeed, the state level gender development index estimated by several scholars places Kerala ahead of other states. But a decomposition of this index reveals that the top position in education and health masks the poor employment profile of women in the state. Besides, the state witnesses negative trends in women's property rights, rapid growth and spread of dowry and rising gender-based violence. This paper engages critically with gender performance in select dimensions of well-being.

Fostering Insecure Livelihoods

Dowry and female seclusion are aspects of a system of property regulation that restrict women's ability to directly own and control property. In this context, it is hardly surprising that agrarian reform has reproduced female disadvantage in property rights and accentuated female seclusion linked to social mobility. The author examines substantial gender disparity in property rights over land, rising levels of dowry and the constraints women face in taking up paid work, etc, which pose serious questions for the livelihood security of poor women in Kerala and West Bengal.

Feminist Theorising

Feminist Theorising Feminism in India edited by Maitrayee Chaudhuri; Kali for Women, New Delhi, 2004; PRAVEENA KODOTH Concerned centrally with the relevance of feminism as a method in the Indian context, this volume foregrounds its highly emotive reception both as a concept and as a politics. Though somewhat worn from use, the charge that feminism is remote, linked to its roots in modernity in the west and the perception that its agenda was male antagonistic, divisive and not intrinsic to an Indian cultural ethos, has continued to evoke feminist academic attention in instructively new ways. However, the concern with

Gender, Property Rights and Responsibility for Farming in Kerala

This paper critically examines the claim that women in Kerala have substantial property rights arising out of agrarian and social reform and the practice of matriliny. It argues that land reform strengthened the patriarchal conjugal framework of property relations in the state, compromising women's independent right to property. While agriculture is no longer considered a viable occupation in the state, greater male occupational mobility has shifted the balance of responsibility for farming and family property increasingly to women. However, this work is being under-reported, is not necessarily 'visible' and comes at the cost of paid employment. For some, social mobility has afforded greater leisure but, along with declining inheritance rights, has led to the rising economic insecurity and vulnerability of women.

Sexual Violence and Predicament of Feminist Politics in Kerala

In the run up to the assembly elections in Kerala, the Left government made pointed effort to focus on the women's issues especially in terms of their gains through such new initiatives as its decentralised development programme. On the other hand, it dithered in taking action on issues that were agitating women across the state as for instance on the several incidents of sexual violence all of which involved directly or indirectly the use of political clout against women. This essay is a beginning towards understanding the 'possibilities' of autonomous feminist politics in the state and emerging Left perspectives on women's issues, specifically in the context of the issue of the agitation around the cases of sexual harassment.
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