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

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Women, Forestspaces and the Law: Transgressing the Boundaries

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 was aimed at redefining gender and environmental justice and acknowledging adivasi women's capacities to nurture forestspace. However, as an analysis of the act's implementation in Andhra Pradesh shows, it has turned into a bureaucratic exercise instead of an empowerment tool. The ingrained patriarchal view of the State and its reluctance to grant the claimants - men and women - community rights to the land they were tilling all these years reveal that the profit motive and integration into larger global capital markets drive its forest development programmes. In the process, the women are becoming wage labourers carrying out the government's programmes of plantation rather than exercising their traditional knowledge to nurture forests and gain rightful livelihoods.

I am deeply indebted to members of the Adivasi Aikya Vedika for their contribution in developing this article. I am grateful to Madhusudhan for his invaluable insights and analyses on issues related to adivasis and resources. I would also like to thank Jasber Singh, for his critical comments and suggestions.

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