Gender, Work and Livelihoods. A study of Buksa Adivasi in the Indian terai
Ambedkar University, DelhiAuthors
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
Ecofeminists see the link (between gender discrimination and environmental degradation) as a strong unifying force that clarified the violation of women and the earth as part of the same drama of male control. They think that most of the reproductive work and unpaid work are done by women as they are close to nature. The present study evaluates this view point, by exploring different dimensions of the gendered division of labor in rural livelihood.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
Mixed-method approach was adopted to address research question and objective. The main objective of the present study was to explore different dimension of gendered division of labour. One way to do this was through time use methodology, which measures the relative time spent by women and men on different activities. Qualitative methods (PRA tools)such as focused group discussion, detail interviews with informants, resource mapping and seasonal charts were used to understand the role played by gender in constructing rural livelihoods. The application of these various techniques enabled the research problem to be approached from different angle and offer the possibility to cross check the data and information (triangulation) collected in relation to specific research question and objective.
Results: What are your most important results?
Overall the study contributes to the larger literature of women’s work, gender and rural livelihood; firstly, it shows that there are clear differences between men’s work and women’s work. Paid work for men is much more diversified than paid work for women.Most of the women spend more than 196 hours on unpaid work(cooking, cleaning and collecting fodder etc)in a month, whereas men spend no time at all on unpaid work .However here are various other factors operating here.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Results show that women are largely involved in cooking, caring, collecting fodder .However, they are also working as paid workers and not all women are doing the same amount of reproductive work. They differ on the basis of age, class and family structure. Therefore, ecofeminists viewpoint that women have inborn ability to conserve nature is challenged here. As it is ethnocentric, essentialist, blind to various other factors and neglects the material sphere.