Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Women in natural resource collection: Experience from rural Jharkhand in India

Ghosh, Bhola Nath and De, Utpal Kumar (2015): Women in natural resource collection: Experience from rural Jharkhand in India. Published in: AIP ISM2 Conference in Malaysia No. 1643 (5 February 2015): pp. 476-486.

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Women living in rural areas are closely associated with the natural environment. Poor families are mostly dependent on natural resources for their survival activities viz.grazing of cattle, collection of water for drinking and cooking purposes and collection of fuel wood. In the poor families due to the compulsion of earning, adult males mostly go for outside activities and sometimes female members of the family also join them. The aforementioned natural resource collection activities are considered to be inferior, less remunerative and hence suitable for the women or young kids to perform. Thus, they are found to be more close to the nature than men and this very close relationship makes them perfect managers of the eco-system in their vicinity. The life of rural women is so much intertwined with the environment that they can't even think of her survival without it. However, there might be significant inter-household differences in the distribution of such activities between male and female members of the families, depending upon their socioeconomic characteristics, cultural and religious beliefs and attitude towards women and children. The involvement of women in such activities is also found to be more in the tribal dominated societies. This paper tried to examine the extent to which women in rural Jharkhand are involved in such natural resource collection and management activities. Also, we tried to unearth various economic and cultural reasons and their impact on the involvement of women in such activities across various social and economic groups. The analysis of primary data collected from the rural areas of tribal dominated Jharkhand reveals that income, occupation and status of the families have significant inverse link with the involvement of women and also of girl children at the cost of their educational prospects. Religious and cultural beliefs also enter in the determination of extent of involvement of women and children in the rural society. It is also an indication of the low empowerment level of the rural women in the study area.

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