Rural Women: An Important Dynamic for Change.

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ayushi AGRAWAL, Indira Gandhi National open University, India
While women play an important role as economic agents in India, particularly in rural areas, even there they participate in secondary rather than primary economic activites. Moreover, the nature of their labour force participation depends on the dynamics of the caste structure. There are three castes within the scheduled (untouchable) caste of the village being studied: Jatava (the majority), Harijans, and Pasiya. Jatava women are mainly engaged in agricultural work, in particular in the subsidiary activities of cutting and collecting crops, while men do the primary work of seed cultivation. In the few Harijan families remaining in the village, both women and men work as domestics or sweepers. When Harijan families have migrated in search of work, the women in the families encounter more difficulties than the men in finding employment. The women work as domestic helpers, on construction sites, or in the brick kiln industry, while men are rickshaw pullers, construction workers or casual laborers. Pasiya women now do subsidiary work, such as assisting men by collecting bamboo or arranging other things to facilitate men’s work. The men work as street hawkers, bamboo basket makers, vegetable sellers or working on other’s land as daily labour. This paper examines how discrimination and inequality differ for the rural women of these three castes, exploring how their capabilities in the labour force are untapped and undervalued, and how they experience inequality in the sharing of work in both the labour force and the household. It also suggests ways of dealing with women’s marginalization.