| home | about us| aims and objectives | organisational structure | webmail | contact us |










 
 




 






Research has been the mainstay of the Centre since its inception.  As the following accounts will amply attest, the Centre continues to be responsive to contemporary problems and new questions demanding investigation, while recognising the rigours and challenges of inter-disciplinary scholarship in the broad field of women’s studies.  While the Centre has, for practical reasons, limited its choice of areas of research drawing on the competences and interests of the faculty, the Centre’s resources and outreach in terms of the range of topics addressed have been growing.  In the following, brief narrations of research projects and related activities have been provided.

The following Research projects were underway:

RESEARCH PROJECTS

 
User Charges and Public Health Care Facilities
... read more...
 


 
Mapping the Public Private Mix in Women’s Health Care
... read more...
 

 
Gender and Migration: Negotiating Rights  A Women’s Movement Perspective
... read more...
 

 
Higher Education and Gender
... read more...
 

 
Globalisation and Women's Work: Dissaggregate analysis of NSSO data
... read more...
 


 
Multiple Vulnerabilities and Marginal Identities: Exploring Violence in the everyday lives of Women with Disabilities in the City
... read more...
 

 
Gender and Governance in Conflict Zones
... read more...
 


 
Women in Indian Engineering: A Preliminary Analysis of Data from the Graduate Level Engineering Education in Kerala and Rajasthan
... read more...
 


 
Move Towards Professionalization? A Case Study of Nursing Development in a Globalised Context from the Southern Indian State of Kerala
... read more...
 

 
Needs Assessment for Creches and Childcare Services
... read more...
 


 
Indigenous Midwives and their Skills in Contributing to the Wellbeing of Birthing Women and Newborns (The JEEVA Project)
... read more...
 

 
The Adverse Child Sex Ration in North-West India
... read more...
 

 
The Social and Political Economy of care in India
... read more...
 

 
Conditions and Needs of Women Workers in Delhi
... read more...
 


 
Construction and Recreation of Violence in the Legal System: Gaps between Claims and Entitlements
... read more...
 

 
Gender and Democratic Governance
... read more...
 

 
Study on Women Migrants of Tamil Origin in France
... read more...
 

 
Needs Assessment for Creches and Childcare Services
... read more...
 

 


User Charges and Public Health Care Facilities
Researcher: Bijoya Roy

Building on previous year’s research the scope of the study on user charges has been broadened. Since the nineties user charges have silently transformed public health institutions creating differential categories of patients and services. Predominantly user fee has been viewed through the economic lens which precludes understanding of the complex contractual relationship it establishes with its patients and the emerging disparities, institutional restructuring and functioning under the influence of user fees. Though the HLEG discourse recommends for abolishing user fee, how it is to be rolled back remains a pressing concern in a scenario of poor funding. It is in this context this study explores the ways through which user charges have proliferated in public health facilities, its role in such institutions and how it influences access and inclusion to healthcare services. The concept note developed addresses different dimensions of user fee in public health care institutions where age, gender, caste, and class are central.

 

 

Mapping the Public Private Mix in Women’s Health Care
Researcher: Bijoya Roy

 

Since the 1990s both the public and private sectors have witnessed tremendous changes in terms of financing and provisioning of preventive, curative and promotive care. Some of the significant changes in recent years have been the expansion of PPP based health care, private nursing homes catering only to maternity care and expansion of certain new services in the public sector in the areas of sexual and reproductive health. The focus of the study is twofold : to explore how maternal health care services have evolved in both the sectors over the past two decades (1990-2010); and secondly to analyse the coverage, nature of service provided, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, sustainability and equity Privatisation and expansion of the private sector in health care has become a reality. Maternity care has been at the centre of this expansion and interventions made though despite these the Maternal Mortality Rate continues to remain at levels seen as being far from satisfactory. It is important to examine the role of public and private healthcare to understand how both the sectors have addressed maternal health care. The study identifies how this process has been increasingly medicalised and promoted as a risky event.

Another paper part of this broad study addresses the role of both the sectors in provisioning of reproductive and sexual health services. Firstly it explores how -RTI/STI related services were marginalized from mainstream healthcare and secondly it delineate how - post nineties -even after RTI/STI gained visibility and acts as precautionary tool emphasizing on behavioural change for preventing and controlling HIV/AIDs and marginalises endogenous and iatrogenic RTIs. The study examines both policy documents and interventions.






Gender and Migration: Negotiating Rights  A Women’s Movement Perspective
Researchers: Indu Agnihotri, Indrani Mazumdar and Neetha N

The last year, spanning 2011-12, saw the formal conclusion of this IDRC supported project  initiated in 2008, with the presentation of its Key Findings at a National Colloquium on 6th March, 2012. Some of the achievements of this project that deserve special mention were 1) its outreach across different parts of the country 2) the vast area covered by different levels of activity 3) the rich meso-level data generated by field surveys and  4) significant methodological interventions in the debate on macro-data based trends in women’s employment and migration. In previous years we have reported on some of the core activities of project consisting of 7 regional consultations accompanied by formal and informal consultation; a rich resource of commissioned papers/presentations; the undertaking of primary research at the centre of which was the meso-level field survey on gender and migration and, the compilation of a rich resource of migration- related literature, documents and micro-studies. Initially scheduled to cover a three year period, the project received a no-cost extension of six months from IDRC.

Regional Consultations

The involvement of around 500 scholars, administrators, members of various State and central Commissions and activists of the women’s movement in the 7 regional consultations generated a rich resource of information on regions - the diverse and specific features of migration patterns, as well as experiences and perspectives which proved to be a valuable resource for the project. The consultations generated interest in the project and helped in taking its concerns to a wider audience. The focus on the region, rather than states, also added interesting dimensions to the discussions allowing for comparisons between regionally variant experiences. Two of the consultations were organized as institutional collaborations – with the Women’s Studies Research Centre (WSRC) of Calcutta University for eastern India and with the OKD Institute of Social Change and Development (a sister ICSSR institute) for the northeast.

Primary Research Activities

Commencing January 2009, primary surveys with a pair of detailed structured questionnaires were conducted across 20 states. A total of 5,007 individual migrants and 5,558 households were covered by the Project. In all, 3,073 female migrant workers and 1,934 male migrant workers and their households were covered by the primary surveys. Of the women migrants, 1,623 were surveyed in rural areas and 1,450 in urban. Comprehensive village surveys were conducted in 35 districts across 17 states. Preliminary censuses covered 16,010 households in 43 village sites, eliciting information on caste, relative economic status and on the number of economic migrants.  In combination, the village and sector based migrant workers were accessed across more than 75 districts, apart from the 7 large cities. The village surveys covered a total of 673 households without migrants and 2,564 individual migrants and their households. Of the individual migrants covered by the village surveys, 1,903 were males and 661 were females. Occupation/sector based surveys directed at women migrant workers were conducted in 20 states in rural as well as urban areas. The urban areas comprised of 7 large cities and 10 medium and smaller towns. These covered 2,443 individual migrants and their households.

Key Findings

The following are some of the key findings that emerged from the research:

v        The need to focus on paradoxes in the macro-data - of increasing female migration rates and falling female work participation rates;  the distinctive trend of major increases in migration for marriage by women –and the context of employment crisis that has resulted in an absolute decline in the numbers of women workers across the quinquennium between 2004-05 to 2009-10.

 

v        With Regard to marriage migration, case studies of cross regional marriages indicated that inability to pay dowry was propelling the sending out of brides while bridegrooms sought brides from other areas due to shortage of available brides in some areas but also sometimes to circumvent escalating marriage expenses.

 

v             Dowry appeared as a focal point linking increased marriage migration to the expanding terrain of devaluation of women’s work (paid and unpaid in production) accompanying greater marketization and demand for cash, reflected in further marginalization in employment. The meso-level data showed the steepest increases in dowry marriages among scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs, all sections where larger proportions of women were traditionally in the workforce.

 

v        There is a need to break with the standard practice of including unpaid workers (albeit within the production boundary) in the macro-data based calculations of the employed since this generally presents an inflated picture of actual employment opportunities for women.

 

v        Analysis of labour migration based on the latest NSS migration survey (2007-08) - by focusing on only paid /income earning employment - revealed a high degree of male bias in migrant employment in industry and services (relatively less so in agriculture), indicating that migration patterns are actually aggravating gender inequalities in the labour market at an aggregate level.

 

v            Using a more socially grounded typology of migration, the meso-level survey indicated a predominance of the temporary in contemporary labour migration (including short term, medium term and circular labour migration) – to a greater extent than appears in the macro-data. There is need for greater recognition of different types of temporary migration in the concepts and definitions adopted.

 

v            The meso-level survey provided limited evidence of diversification of women’s employment through migration, with greater concentration of women in a relatively narrow band of occupations, with differentiation moving along the fault lines of entrenched caste and community hierarchies. More medium and long term migration among women from upper caste communities correlated with relatively greater levels of diversification into various types of services while migrant women workers from the scheduled castes and tribes were concentrated in hard manual labour based short term and particularly circular migration linked occupations, with little scope for social advance.

 

v             In circular migration based brick-making (across the country) and sugarcane cutting (in western and southern India), women’s wage work itself was found to be subsumed in laboring units comprising male/female pairs or family units, despite serving segments of capital accumulation -oriented modern industries, such as sugar mills. Combined with piece rates, this leaves no scope for independent income, even as legal quantification of individual women’s work value becomes difficult. This is compounded by a cycle of advance and debt based tying of such laboring units, generally through contractors.

 

v        A strong and distinctive movement towards a major concentration of women in paid domestic work, mainly through urban-wards migration, was found to cut across all castes/tribes/community lines. Textile based factory employment also appeared relatively less characterized by any concentrated caste features.

 

v        The macro and meso level findings challenge some assumptions that have become commonplace in approaches to women’s work and work based migration.  The low shares of women in labour migration for industry and diversified services run counter to the assumption that liberalization and globalization lead to feminization of labour and related migration. In fact, the escalated devaluation of women’s traditional work appears to be confronted with employment constriction and a narrow range of options, rather than compensation for loss of earlier employment through adequate expansion/diversification in paid employment opportunities for women.

 

v        Overall, female labour migration has had less of an impact on the structure of the female workforce with a continuing and relatively greater concentration of women in agriculture and low employment rates among urban women evident in the macro-statistics. The meso-level data indicates that relatively smaller proportions of women migrant workers in urban areas have been drawn out from the agricultural workforce, while more (particularly from the higher castes) appear to make a transition from non-employment to employment.

 

v        Nevertheless, a strong urge to change the conditions of their life was also evident in the meso-data with a significant presence of autonomous migration by women and a large proportion of women migrant workers declaring that the decision to migrate was theirs.

 

v        The above findings being for a period of high growth in India, raise several additional questions. Characterized by a rapidly declining share of agriculture in the country’s GDP, accelerated growth primarily in services and to a lesser extent also industry, has not generated commensurate demand in terms of employment, for which women have paid the main price of reduced employment. Despite the push towards distress migration induced by the agrarian crisis, a pullback also appears to be operating given the predominantly temporary nature of the developing employment regime, and the widespread inability of migrants at lower ends of the economy to sustain social reproduction without periodic retreat to the village economy, even as the village economy is not providing sufficient employment. There is a need to bring into the debate questions related to structural limitations to the migration enterprise under the current growth/development path in effecting a) durable or structural sectoral /occupational shifts away from agriculture for women workers, b) escape from or transformation of degrading semi-feudal social relations based on caste hierarchies and patriarchy, and c) escape from the massive employment crisis that women face in India. Despite a degree of social assertion, the data suggests persistence of structural constraints in the highly gendered labour market and entrenched patriarchies in the macro-process reinforcing gendered features of migration under liberalization/neo-liberal driven growth.

 

v        The censuses of the village sites indicated that 56% of households reported economic migration by household members, with higher proportions within Muslim and Christian households sending migrants in comparison to households of other religions and larger proportions of ST, MBC and SC households sending out migrants in comparison to upper caste and OBC households while the average income of households with migrants (including remittances) was less than the average incomes of households without migrants.

 

v        Also a higher proportion of the women migrants (23%) reported experience of violence in 
          the course of their migration in comparison to men.



 


 

Higher Education and Gender
Researcher: Mary E. John

During the year, different aspects of higher education were the subject of research, consultations and publications.  Drawing from the workshop on Critical Knowledges in Higher Educationd in March 2011, an issue of the journal Seminar was guest edited with the title ‘Democratizing Knowledge: A Symposium on Higher Education’ (August 2011).  The main concern of this issue of Seminar was to focus on the current moment of higher education in the context of state led initiatives to provide a ‘big push’ in this sector with the Eleventh Plan.  Given both the policy vacuum and knowledge vacuum within which massive changes are taking place, the twelve essays in the volume looked at various aspects of the processes underway, including recent Commission Reports, the new Bills in Parliament, questions of disciplinarity and language, student politics, teachers’ responses to the semester system in Delhi University, questions of governance and regulation, and so on. 

A research paper was also prepared which looked at issues of gender within the current moment of higher education. Historically speaking, women’s education occupied a central place from the nineteenth century to the first decades of India’s independence, but, curiously, lost prominence with the onset of the women’s movement and the introduction of women’s studies in the academy in the 1980s and since then. Although the participation of women in higher education shows steady improvement and a narrowing of the gender gap, the paper examined national-level data (NSS 2004-05) to reveal the complex and elusive forms being currently assumed by gender discrimination. This includes recognising that disparities among women from different social groups are greater than those among men of the same groups. Secondly, many of the contexts where gender gaps have closed are also characterised by adverse child sex ratios due to practices of sex selection. Taken together, the paper argued that the current era of expansion in higher education demands analysis from a gendered perspective.  This paper is due to appear as part of a special issue on gender in the journal Contemporary Education Dialogue in July 2012.





 

Globalisation and Women's Work: Dissagregate analysis of NSSO data
Researcher: Neetha N.

This is an ongoing study based on the employment and unemployment data published by NSSO. The work during the current year was based on the 66th round data. Structural changes do impact women’s employment in terms of their opportunity for employment and sectoral/occupational concentration. The trends and pattern of female employment at the macro level has not been revitalizing with considerable fluctuations both in terms of participation as well as occupational concentration. This puzzle around female employment took a new turn with the release of the 66th round data showing a sharp decline in work participation rate in 2009-10.  The decline when analysed was found to be driven by a decline in self employed in rural areas. Since self employment also includes a large section of workers who are unpaid, a detailed disaggregation of self-employed was attempted to capture the proportion of paid employment and there by the participation rate of women in paid employment. The analysis revealed the glaring difference between paid work participation rate and the common measure of workforce participation rate. The findings open up the debate around women’s work in terms of both measurements as well as in understanding changes in women’s employment, gender relations and women’s status.

During the year 2011-12 one presentation was made based on the findings of the analysis. Further, one occasional paper and journal article was also published jointly with Indrani Mazumdar.
 

 

 

Multiple vulnerabilities and Marginal identities:  exploring violence in the everyday lives of  Women with Disabilities
Researcher: Renu Addlakha

 

Work continued on writing up the manuscript, based on the 18 months of qualitative fieldwork in Delhi for the above project. The tentative title of the manuscript is ‘Decentring Disability in India: Violence, Work and Sexuality in everyday Life’. Drawing upon both primary and secondary data, the work examines the contemporary discursive formation of disability in India with a particular focus on everyday practices in the lifeworld. As the title indicates, violence, work and sexuality are overarching themes and their analysis is embedded in an intersectional framework of socio-demographic variables in which gender is a prominent category. In addition to in-depth interviews, the other data sources which emerge as field sites in their own right for this study are the law, media and civil society, particularly the disability rights movement.

This project would be the first study in India that engages with disability of women and men in a lifecycle perspective. Although largely based on an urban sample of informants in their reproductive and productive years, it raises issues that bear relevance to a cross section of the disabled population in the country. Being a field based study, it seeks to question dominant stereotypes and representations of disabled people by focusing on individual experiences that both contest and corroborate the above. The study is a unique blend of both original and applied research with theoretical insights and policy-related recommendations.

 


 

 
Gender and Governance in Conflict Zones
Project Co-ordinator and Researcher: Seema Kazi with Regional partners: Amena Mohsin,
Bangladesh; Malathi De Alwis, Sri Lanka and Nazish Brohi, Pakistan

This is an IDRC supported  three year regional project on Gender and Governance co-ordinated by Seema Kazi from the CWDS--  which  focuses on the nature and extent of integration of gender concerns in conflict zones with an emphasis on security and justice issues.

v        The study examines governance in conflict zones in four South Asian states (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) from a gender perspective at three levels to firstly reflect on women’s marginalisation in politics and governance in conflict zones. Moving beyond the numbers/quota debate regarding women’s participation in politics, this study demonstrates that women’s marginalisation in politics in conflict zones has much more to do with the institutional context and practice than with women’s numeric presence in governance bodies. Using a combination of evidence-based empirical methods, the study identifies women’s gender concerns in conflict zones and highlights the impediments women face in terms of institutional access, response and redress.  Thirdly, the focus on women’s local activism in the region shows how women have adopted novel forms of protest against gendered violence and exclusion in conflict zones albeit with relatively little influence on local governance policy. Women’s mobilisation for institutional accountability in conflict zones is examined and potential strategies women could adopt towards influencing governance policy are foregrounded. The study will flag gender concerns emerging out of local and regional workshops to be held during the course of the study and aims at forging a network of women and feminists working towards widening the debate on gender and governance in the South Asian region.
 

v            This project re-affirms women as key stakeholders in the relationship between citizens and the state in conflict zones, In addition to analyzing country-specific cases, through cross country comparisons, the project will illustrate/ highlight  broader gender inequalities that are produced, sustained, and reinforced through armed conflict to consider how these inequalities occur within public and private spaces, and how the practice of governance needs to be responsive and accountable to women in conflict zones. From a policy point of view, the empirical knowledge generated in this study is expected to affirm and endorse the importance of a bottoms-up practice of governance. The core motivation of the study is transformatory change and to this end, it aims to underscore the limits of a feminist strategy focused on women’s numerical presence in governance institutions and emphasises the enhancement of women’s political capacity in conflict zones or, in other words, enforcing public accountability for the protection of women’s rights in South Asia’s conflict zones.
 

v        This study is envisaged to have multiple outcomes. At a macro/general level it provides a regional overview of governance regimes in the South Asian region and highlights the generic and specific challenges women face in terms of ensuring voice and agency in politics. The use of a feminist and non-feminist political and historical frame captures the complexity of conflict that, in turn, has a direct bearing on women’s participation in politics.

v        The outreach component of this research includes local workshops in India, Bangladesh,
          Pakistan and Sri Lanka involving researchers, women’s groups, feminist activists,
          NGOs/CBOs, policy-makers, researchers, scholars, opinion-makers and journalists. Local and
          regional workshops are to be held in each of the four research locations to highlight the
          research findings in the respective country sections and raise awareness regarding the
          importance of integrating women’s gender concerns in governance practice in conflict
          zones. The workshops aim to forge a community of activists and researchers in the South
          Asian region working on issues of gender and conflict, governance, and human security.
          These aim at a policy colloquium - including researchers, scholars and policy-makers –
          tasked with using the knowledge generated by the study to influence policy, and
          enhance engagement around gender concerns in conflict zones. The project envisages
          greater collaboration among local women’s groups and CSOs working on gender and
          governance, further research uptake based on research findings and a consolidation of
          alliances between local women’s and civil society groups.




 

Women in Indian Engineering: A Preliminary Analysis of Data from the Graduate Level Engineering Education in Kerala and Rajasthan
Researcher:  Sreelekha R.Nair

Perusal of the literature available on women and Engineering shows that there are only a handful of studies on women engineers, not only in India, but universally.  It is in this context that a study was undertaken of graduate level engineering education in the states of Kerala and Rajasthan in India in collaboration with the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi. This was part of a larger collaborative study on ‘Making of Indian Engineers’, by a group of researchers led by Dr. Roland Lardinois of the CSH. Analysis of secondary as well as primary data showed that though engineering educational institutions in post-independence India did not officially have a history of discrimination against women -- unlike their counterparts in the west-- many informal and institutional biases existed which  worked against women. The tendency to favour men and boys at a wider social level has its impact on decision-making with regard to the education of women and continues to determine the gender based patterns with respect to who enters engineering courses. Though the state of Kerala is much advanced in the enrolment of women, systemic biases against women continue even as there is much to be done at the policy level in the state of Rajasthan. The study points to the need to undertake systematic research on the subject, going beyond analyzing the enrolment rates of women and men.

The study was published as an Occasional Paper, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi.

 

 

Move Towards Professionalization? A Case Study of Nursing Development in a Globalised Context from the Southern Indian State of Kerala
Researcher:  Sreelekha R.Nair

Undertaken in collaboration with the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham, UK,

A proposal to study a spate of on-going strikes by nurses in the private sector hospitals in Kerala was initiated during December 2011-February 2012 when it was noticed that nurses across different districts had come together to speak in one voice, despite pressure tactics from hospital authorities. In Kerala the strikes received widespread media coverage and public debate about problems and issues faced by nurses. The context to the study was provided by the  well –known fact that India faces an acute shortage of nursing staff and an estimated deficit of 2 million even as the Government has identified the National Rural Health Mission (2005-2015), health sector reform and human resource development as central priorities. Presently, much investment is directed towards increasing training capacity for nurses. However, reports point to a systemic crisis in the nursing sector, demonstrating that poor working conditions, low pay, exploitative working conditions (particularly in the private sector), low status of the profession, and weak regulation continue to be issues.  Significantly, scholars working on the subject have maintained that simply increasing the numbers of nurses without addressing these wider social and professional issues will not help to achieve the goal of improving the quality and capability of the nursing workforce. Keeping these aspects in mind, a project titled ‘Move towards Professionalization?  A Case Study of Nursing Development in a Globalised Context from the Southern Indian State of Kerala,’ in order to study the issues emerging from and in course of ongoing strikes by nurses has been undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Catrin Evans (Nurse Educator) and Dr. Stephen Timmons (Sociologist) of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy of the University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom. Work on the Project began in March 2012.

The Manuscript of Moving with the Times Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India, published by Routledge India, New Delhi in May 2012 was finalized during this period.






 

Needs Assessment for Creches and Childcare Services

Project Director: Kumud Sharma; Co-ordinator: Vasanthi Raman;

Research Officer: Pooja Dhawan

A project focusing on Need Assessment of Creches and Child Care Services was undertaken over this year to strengthen the research component within the FORCES–CWDS partnership, with Vasanthi Raman as the Project Co-ordinator 

Commissioned as a Project by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, GOI, during 2011-2012, this study is aimed at feeding into changes in policy that were/ are  already in the pipeline to specifically examine the scope, need and viability of developing a network of  anganwadi centres- cum -crèches.

The focus of this study remains two-fold: to assess the functioning of ICDS centres and need for crèches and child care services reaching out to the vast majority of women and families who could no longer fulfil child care needs. The study team has approached the issue from an integrated perspective to address the needs for care of the young child and the mother/worker, thus linking both child care needs as well as the gender dimensions. The outcome of the project has far reaching implications.

The time frame for the study was one year, with an extension given for three months. The study has been completed and the final report is being finalised.  The six state  study – covering Assam, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh- began with identifying the diverse regions and socio-economic and cultural niches of the country as its starting point, thereby laying out the diversity of the situations of mothers and families, also specifically that of children as a factor to be built upon. Special attention was given to factoring in different occupational categories as an important criterion while identifying the sample of 3000 households for the questionnaire based survey.  

The sample addresses the need of children below the age of six whose mothers are drawn from seven selected occupational categories, i.e. agricultural labourers, home-based artisans and workers, brick kiln workers, construction workers, domestic workers, fishing communities and tea plantation workers. A small sample of Anganwadi Workers also formed part of the study.  Preliminary analysis reaffirms some of the initial objectives outlined while selecting the sample: the social profile of mothers and households shows that the most marginalised both socially ( i.e. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minority groups and Other Backward Classes) and economically backward are covered by the sample; the vast majority of sampled households were below the poverty line, with 35% of the sampled households  across six states having an average annual income of Rs.10,000 to Rs.20,000 while another 41%  having an income of Rs.20,000 to Rs. 40,000.

Other early findings from the survey conducted establish that of that sample of 3000:

v   A  large proportion  ( 39 %)  do not have any ration card, while 34% have BPL cards;

v   A significant percentage ( 45%), particularly agricultural labourers,  brick kiln workers and construction workers  get employment for only four to six months;

v  The majority of the  children of respondents below the age of six  ( 59%) do not use Anganwadi Centres (AWC), with the percentages for children 0-3 years being 33% and those for children between 3-6 years being 41%. The AWC is essentially being used for immunisation and take home rations. The study establishes that the mother is the sole care giver in the age set of 0-6 months and also the principal caregiver in the other age categories across all six states and occupational categories. Creches are almost non-existent in the areas under study. 98% of the respondents stated that they would use a crèche facility if available. Nearly 78% of the respondents across all occupational categories preferred a full time crèche.

.


 

 

Indigenous Midwives and their Skills in Contributing to the Wellbeing of Birthing Women and Newborns (The JEEVA Project)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mira Sadgopal

Team of researchers: Mira Sadgopal, Imrana Qadeer, Janet Chawla, Lindsay Barnes, Leila Caleb Varkey and Anuradha Singh. Bijoya Roy from CWDS is also part of this project. 


The study of Indigenous Midwives and their Skills in Contributing to the Wellbeing of Birthing Women and Newborns, the ‘Jeeva’ Project (2011-14) - is now in its main study phase. Covering a study population of about 40,000 spread across four districts in remote locations in India – Bokaro in Jharkhand, Bellary in Karnataka, Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Kangra in Himachal – the study aims to strengthen the evidence base on Dais and indigenous midwifery systems in India, while also providing a profile of the other birth care providers, birthing women and families and their perceptions of Dais. It looks towards appropriately linking the Dais with the formal health services under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). It will propose how Dais can support the health services to enhance the survival and wellbeing of mothers and newborns.

The current phase of the study focuses qualitatively on Dais’ traditional childbirth knowledge and skills in normal and difficult or complicated situations; their utilisation, especially by the poorest; and their relations with other informal and formal maternity care providers. Through a 33% survey of households and of providers, with exhaustive birth-tracking, it attempts to quantitatively assess the prevalence and outcomes of key practices so as to compare women’s experience of support in childbirth with Dais at home and in ‘institutional’ (hospital) settings.

The research teams are supported by four project partners at the regional level: Jan Chetna Manch – Bokaro, Jharkhand, Janarth Adivasi Vikas Sanstha in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, Society for Rural Development and Action in Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, and the Mahila Samakhya Karnataka team in Bellary.  

During the last year the core study team finalised the research tools and researchers; conducted trainings for field teams and undertook translation of research tools into the regional languages. A training workshop for Orientation of the core researchers was held in Delhi in November 2011. The Ethics Review Committee has also met. Meanwhile, the field teams familiarised themselves with the study terrain and the people as also the Partners. They translated from regional into local languages with help of the local members. A village profiling and social mapping has begun alongside updating the listings of Dais, and checking and finalising the listings of village households to identify the research sample. The survey instruments were tested for communicability, while the survey of one-third sample of households and survey of providers started. This will continue through July-August 2012.

These months in the field have been full of challenges for the four teams who have had to deal with variations in climate, some rugged terrain and their own diverse experiences. A review and orientation workshop, organised in April 2012 at Delhi, after four months’ field work, laid stress on a methodology of two way learning. It was rich in local experience and insights into the reliance of people on the Dais in the regionally very different contexts that constitute the study.

With the participation of Dais, other maternity care providers, women and others in these communities, the project strives at making childbirth safer by strengthening community-based birth attendance and planned back-up by the formal health care system through realisation of the Dais’ potential to optimise the wellbeing of mothers and newborns.

Bijoya Roy, CWDS, is one of the members of JEEVA Research Ethics Committee. She was one of the resource person’s for Inter-regional Orientation programme for the field researchers and the partner organization, organized in Delhi (31st Oct. – 5th Nov., 2011).

 

 

 

 

The Adverse Child Sex Ration in North-West India
Researcher: Mary E. John


The collaborative study on the adverse child sex ratio has entered its final phase, concentrating on matters of dissemination of the study.  During 2009-10 the Report in English was the subject of a special panel discussion hosted in Jawaharhal Nehru University.  It has since been translated into both Hindi and Punjabi and is being widely disseminated in both hard copy and electronic copy form.

Work on a separate book has already been initiated which aims to go into greater depth than the report in order to provide a site wise analysis of the research undertaken, as well as providing a fuller background context for the study.

The team of researchers includes Ravinder Kaur, Rajni Palriwala and Saraswati Raju, and the final phase of support comes from the IDRC. 






The Social and Political Economy of care in India
Researcher: Neetha Narayana Pillai

The study, conducted at the initiative of the UNRISD Programme on Gender and Development, is completed. This is a joint study with Prof. Rajni Palriwala of Delhi University.

The study demonstrates how the multi-dimensional nature of care giving and its quantitative or qualitative time/labour demands are not recognized.  The findings suggest a stratified familialism in care practices due to the differences in time available to family members for care.  The institutional context mediated by the political economy of livelihoods stratifies families along a continuum.  At the one end are those who have the possibility to retain familial carers at home and supplement them with market and other institutional carers and at the other end of the spectrum are those who are neither able to retain family members at home nor fill the care gap through formal institutions. 

Among poor and labouring households, where mothers are engaged in paid work, in or away from home, and where other kin are not likely to be present, care is abbreviated.  In contrast to this, an enhancement in familial time and quality of care is possible at higher income levels and is also demanded by the changing ideas of childcare among the elite and middle classes.  The poor migrant, the urban labouring poor, and households where all members need to earn are often the ones supplementing familial care in elite households, with a deficit in their own.   Crèches and pre-schools or institutional arrangements such as maternity leave to enable unpaid familial care are neither cheap nor simple to organise, especially where the economy is largely informal and carers are workers in individual households and thereby made invisible.  At the same time, the range of care possibilities available to the elite and upper middle classes and local care chains enable women of these strata apparently to break out of gendered moulds. 

The mapping of care practices in India delineates a labour/care regime in which care is socially and economically devalued with little shift in state policy on care, despite collective agitation.  There is a muted and partial recognition of the imperatives of care needs and an imputation of ‘moral’ value to care giving.  The study argues that despite differences between various states and the central governments in social policy, all tend to assume familial, gendered, and informal systems of care.  Care has entered public discourse and government policy inadvertently around issues of child welfare and ‘human resource development’.  The continuing official denial of the time and skill requirements of care acts in conjunction with the non-recognition of women’s multi-layered work to add to women’s burden.  The encouragement of the informal sector enables women’s presence as unpaid familial carers and strengthens assumptions regarding the availability of such care.  The continued assumption is that care and the carer do not, need not, and cannot become a public responsibility and concern. 

The draft report submitted to UNRISD in the form of five chapters is available on their website. Chapters from the study are being reworked for separate publication, and the possibility of a book is also being explored.

 

 

Conditions and Needs of Women Workers in Delhi
Researchers: Neetha Narayana Pillai and Indrani Mazumdar

The study which was carried out at the initiative of the Delhi Commission for Women has been completed. The major objectives of the study were to: 1. Undertake an in depth analysis of the various factors that contribute to women workers’ specific vulnerabilities and to discriminatory and exploitative practices (including sexual exploitation) in five important segments of the female workforce. 2. Identify the specific and practical needs for enhancing protection of women workers in these segments, particularly in the private sector. 3. Review and explore the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of available mechanisms and practices currently used for redressal in relation to sexual harassment in the workplace. 4. Prepare a series of guidelines towards evolving more effective mechanisms for social protection and redressal of grievances of women workers. The report of the study has been submitted to the Delhi Commission for Women. At the request of the Commission a formal presentation of the findings and recommendations of the study was made before its members.

The chapter wise break-up of the report is as follows:

1.     Women Workers of Delhi: Overview

2.     Of Women Workers in  the Factories of Delhi

3.     At the Cusp of a Boom: Private Sector Office/Service Workers in Delhi

4.     Trapped between the Public and the Private: Domestic Workers in Delhi

5.     Conditions in the Education Sector: Teachers and Students

6.     Reviewing Regulatory Frameworks, Laws Institutions

7.     More than a Decade after Vishakha: Sexual Harassment Issues before Women Workers in Delhi

8.     Summary of Research Findings and Recommendations

 

 


 

Construction and Recreation of Violence in the Legal System: Gaps between Claims and Entitlements
Researcher: Rukmini Sen

The last year has been taken up with further research on the topic of legal reforms. A major issue here concerns the gap between the demands made by the women’s movement since the early 1980s on laws relating to violence against women and the actual shape that the law reform took.  Not only is there a huge lag from the when the demand was initially made and when the legal reform takes place, most of the substantive changes that are asked for by the women’s groups have never conceded to.  Two papers published in EPW and IJGS are a result of this research, one on changes in rape law (focussing especially on the Law Commission Reports) and the other on laws relating to domestic violence. Separate research was initiated on the myth about the misuse of section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. This research was prompted by the attempts underway to dilute the procedural aspects of 498A because of the ‘fear’ of misuse, without having any evidence or statistics regarding such ‘misuse’.  The note prepared has also been used in various for a including the Joint Parliamentary Committee hearings on the issue of changing IPC 498A.

 

 

 

Gender and Democratic Governance
Researcher: Seema Kazi

This study focuses on gender and democratic governance in the South Asian region, namely, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and is being brought out as an Occasional Paper. Beginning with a general introduction to the region, the first section highlights the shared historical and cultural heritage of South Asia and delineates the challenges confronting individual states in the region. The second section explains the differences between Western/European and South Asian understandings of democracy and goes on to highlight the region’s gender deficit with reference to women’s rights and political participation. The concepts of democracy, governance and women’s rights are discussed and the importance of gender equality as one of the core guiding principles of democratic governance emphasised. The third section examines the demand for reserved quotas for women in local and national governance institutions in all five contexts. It delineates the historical and political context against which the demand for reserved quotas for women in governance bodies emerged and highlights the role of women’s movements towards facilitating women’s political participation. Focusing on women’s movements across South Asia, the paper discusses the important successes as well as the challenges of women’s movement activism vis-a-vis the demand for reserved quotas. In conclusion, the paper underlines the importance of bridging class inequality and effecting distributive justice if women’s demands for political equality are to be realised. 

 

 

 

 
Study on Women Migrants of Tamil Origin in France
Researcher:  Sreelekha Nair

During a period of extraordinary leave at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris) during 2008, a study was initiated on women migrants of Tamil origin in France.  During 2009-10, the study was developed into two papers focussing on their economic activities and their active agency in the creation of a visible Tamil identity in France.   Work participation and other engagements in civil society are also informed by gender roles and notions of the ‘ideal’ cultural practices of the original community that they left behind. These papers describe how the difference in their status within the French state has affected the economic status of women migrants from Pondicherry and Sri Lanka and their livelihood options. Such status plays the most important role in their negotiations with/in the public space, even when the separation between public and private spaces is porous. Familial spaces perceived as private, relations at the community and professional levels, as well as spaces at the interface between the community and mainstream French society are the main areas that have been explored in these papers.  Relations within the community itself are affected by the political scenario at the place of home. Global Networks of the Sri Lankan migrants also inform their identity formation and engagement with the state.

 

 

 

Needs Assessment for Creches and Childcare Services
Investigators:  Kumud Sharma, Vasanthi Raman

CWDS has prepared a proposal in the light of the critical place occupied by the ICDS scheme as the state’s flagship programme for the young child and mothers, with its enormous outlay of public resources.  However the outcome and impact of this major governmental programme in terms of the health and educational status of young children are far from satisfactory.  Furthermore, the paucity of crèches to serve the burgeoning informal sector is also urgently in need of attention.  With a view to assessing the need for crèches, this study proposes to examine the needs and responses to child care services in six selected states. This would be the first phase of a longer project required to capture the situation in a representative range of ecological zones and states in the country.  Through a combination of focussing on existing schemes such as the ICDS and RGCS and problems in their implementation, and secondly on communities’ needs for crèches and care services, the study seeks to throw up the possibility of alternative models such as the AWC cum Creches, to respond better to the diversity of needs for different categories of occupations and in different locations. 

This is a one year study scheduled to begin in April 2011, with support received from the MWCD.