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

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Female Deselection and Gender Violence in India

Gender, Identity and Violence: Female Deselection in India by Rainuka Dagar, Routledge: New Delhi, 2014; pp 325, Rs 795.

Tribal Migrant Women as Domestic Workers in Mumbai

Focusing on female migrant domestic workers from Jharkhand, this article looks at their lives before and after migration. Jharkhand witnesses heavy migration and mobility to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, especially female migration. Girls and young women coming from marginalised communities migrate through different means and organisations like placement agencies, religious institutions or with the help of friends or relatives. Most of them get into the unorganised sector such as domestic work. Lack of social security measures continues to be a major challenge and a source of distress for these workers.

Right to Abort in Surrogacy Contracts

This article makes an enquiry into the right to abort in surrogacy contracts as visualised by the bill on Assisted Reproductive Technology drafted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and introduced in Parliament in 2010. It argues that the bill's anti-abortion clause raises important questions of ethics, fundamental rights as well as legal remedies, if any, in the event of a breach of contract.

Discrepancies in Sanitation Statistics of Rural India

The inadequate availability of drinking water and proper sanitation, especially in rural India, leads to innumerable deadly diseases, harms the environment, and also affects vulnerable populations, such as persons with disabilities and women, exposing them to sexual violence. Providing access to sanitation facilities in rural areas of India has been on the agenda of the Government of India for the past three decades. However, a reinvigorated thrust to provide adequate sanitation facilities in rural India is the need of the hour, which must be accompanied by constant scrutiny and monitoring, so as to arrive at apt decisions and policies for further action.

Outsourcing Reproduction

Sourcing Surrogates: Actors, Agencies and Networks by V Deepa, Mohan Rao, Rama Baru, Ramila Bisht, N Sarojini and Susan Fairly Murray (New Delhi: Zubaan Publishing Services), 2013; pp 98, price not mentioned.

Responding to Sexual Violence

This paper is based on the results of establishing a comprehensive health-sector response to sexual violence. Eliminating existing forensic biases to rape and the neglect of healthcare needs of survivors, the model uses gender-sensitive protocol for medico-legal documentation of sexual violence, which focuses on informed consent, documentation of the nature of sexual violence, and collection of relevant forensic evidence. It uses standard treatment guidelines for the provision of treatment, and ensures psychosocial support to the survivor. The results indicate that a sensitive response by health professionals can play a crucial role in healing from sexual abuse.

Killing Women to Curb Population

The Chhattisgarh tragedy will repeat unless governments accept women's rights.

Death of a Dai

In the case of childbirth, obstetrics is equated with development-modernity, while dais symbolise the lacking space which needs to be either co-opted through training or obliterated. The state, in its approval of this modernising project, offers several incentives and disincentives, even as everyday practice and the choices women make on the ground indicate a far complex reality. By moving through the life story of a real dai, this article underscores the absurdities and ironies that waylay the grand project of development-modernity in its journey towards its goal.

Testing Chastity, Evidencing Rape

Through a detailed analysis of the history of medical jurisprudence textbooks and their use in case law, this paper argues that these textbooks undermine legal reforms in India. It establishes that medical manuals promote the collection of prejudicial and legally irrelevant evidence and reinforce the notion that Indian women frequently bring false charges of rape. Courts regularly cite these textbooks as authority in rape cases, based on the perceived objectivity of medical science as a form of evidence. For legal reforms to be effective, this article argues that changes must be made to textbooks of medical jurisprudence, medical syllabi, and to protocols of medical examination and assessment of rape victims. Further, courts must be more critical in their use and acceptance of these medical manuals.

Engendered Access or Engendered Care?

A central feature of many developing countries is the presence of significant gender differentials in health outcomes. Two potential factors that can account for this are that females access treatment later than males and that they receive differential care at the medical facility. This paper explores both of these in the context of eye care. The paper studies diagnostic and surgical outcomes of 60,000 patients who sought treatment over a three-month period in 2012 at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The results show that at presentation, women have worse diagnoses than men for indicators of symptomatic illness. To resolve gender-based health inequalities in developing countries, we need to know where these inequalities lie. This paper finds them in access but not care. The findings suggest that women seek treatment later than men for symptomatic illness. That no such gender differential exists for asymptomatic diseases suggests that women do not necessarily go for regular preventive check-ups at a lower frequency than men. The paper finds no systematic evidence that women and men receive differential medical treatment.

An Unholy Festival

In a number of Indian festivals, the rituals and practices alienate different sections of society and even exploit them. Such is the case with the Holi celebrations in Charthari village in Uttar Pradesh where the dalits and women bear the brunt of the hard work that goes into observing the occasion but are not permitted to participate in the "enjoyment". This raises questions about interpretations of Holi as the carnivalesque churning of social hierarchies.

Marriage, Work and Education among Domestic Workers in Kolkata

This paper analyses the findings of a research project undertaken by the School of Women's Studies, Jadavpur University on questions of marriage and related issues in the context of paid domestic work among the working women from two squatter colonies in Kolkata. The respondents are seen to be caught between the imperatives of early marriage and girlhood employment, but they insist upon the value of education for their daughters. Many of them have experienced and suffered early marriage and childbirth and are vehement in their rejection of such a trajectory for their daughters, even though not all of them are able to carry through such decisions. Parents from urban working-class neighbourhoods are not obsessed with sexual chastity of their daughters; they accept courtships and elopements, sometimes hailing the latter with some relief. What these mothers share with their middle class counterparts is an interest in tremendous investment in their children's education, which is in both cases accompanied by great expectations for the future.

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