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To Be or Not to Be

This paper discusses some of the problems women face in gendering public policy. The paper elaborates on how women's collective identity can be forceful politically when backed by knowledge and gives examples of this from Karnataka. New developments in decentralisation of governance have opened possibilities for women's agency at the local level. Paradoxically, developments at the global level have the possibility of undermining this process. The author argues that we can only therefore confront this not by integrating into the existing development paradigm and attempting small changes at the local level but by evolving a different development paradigm that will ensure justice for the majority of the poor and women.

To Be or Not to Be

Problems in Locating Women in Public Policy

This paper discusses some of the problems women face in gendering public policy. The paper elaborates on how women’s collective identity can be forceful politically when backed by knowledge and gives examples of this from Karnataka. New developments in decentralisation of governance have opened possibilities for women’s agency at the local level. Paradoxically, developments at the global level have the possibility of undermining this process. The author argues that we can only therefore confront this not by integrating into the existing development paradigm and attempting small changes at the local level but by evolving a different development paradigm that will ensure justice for the majority of the poor and women.


omen face three problems in incorporating their concerns in public policy. Firstly, how can we have “woman” as an exclusive category given the heterogeneity among women. Women belong to all the classes, castes, religions, political ideologies and cultures in society. Thus to project an identity of “woman” as defined by feminine experience to represent a collective point of view or opinion is a challenge. Yet a case can and has been made for taking “woman” as a specific category (as an imaginary) on the basis of the fact that across these conventional divides various forms of discrimination converge. Indeed it was this recognition, namely, the experience of discrimination against women across all social groups, that led the pioneers on women’s rights, the founding mothers of the UN’s conventions, to craft the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The universality of discrimination against women gives them an identity across differences. But discrimination alone cannot overcome the other problems of gendering mentioned below [Morrisson and Jutting 2005].

The second question arises from the flawed nature of inherited knowledge. Women studies have demonstrated how knowledge of society and knowledge about women are constructed by patriarchal biases – that all knowledge is gendered [Jain 2004, 1986]. A very typical example relates to women’s work. What kind of work is called work, how work is valued, the measures used to determine the value of their work are all determined by the perception of women’s work by society, official agencies and men. As a result, women’s work is undercounted, underestimated and often is invisible. There are dichotomies such as public and private space [Jain 2000] and hierarchies [Jain 2001] embedded in language and practice. For example, the large space occupied by the majority of women workers is called “informal”, implying its secondary status to the so called formal sector. The non-monetised sector is either accorded a lower value or no value compared to the monetised [Goldschmidt-Clermont 1981] – an approach totally invalid for a largely subsistence economy where the non-monetised sector is substantial. Thus if a policy arises out of such inherited “flawed” knowledge, women advocates would not want to participate in it. They would not like to engender it. They would like to deconstruct it or challenge it or reject it.

Integration as Surrender

Thus integrating into an existing framework has problems. If the formulation of public policy that arises out of the accepted theories and frameworks and out of given data and analysis is unacceptable to, say, a group, like women, or dalits [Guru 2002], then their integrating into that set-up, sitting at committees or negotiating tables is surrender. Insofar as we start from a premise that is inaccurate and flawed, it can lead to undesirable results. But this staying away also has its negative effects, i e, exclusion. This is one of the dilemmas. In the language of the feminists this is often posed as: “Do we want a piece of the poisoned cake?” [Jain 1999] or another way of raising the same question, “Do we want to swim in the polluted stream?”. Hence ideas like integrating, gendering, mainstreaming, used now in current discussions for inclusion of women in policy-making efforts, do not achieve desired results.

The third problem arises out of women’s unhappiness over constructing “boxes”, to contain phenomena within strict boundaries. To women, such boundaries are invalid especially where boundaries are fluid. They do not easily accept attempts at imputing a false identity and deriving judgments on that basis. If one defines the boundary of identity as women’s ways of doing things it is rejected as “essentialism”. If one suggests that wage work for women empowers them, it is called “instrumentalism”. There is a tendency amongst the women advocates themselves to question every notion or concept which attempts an arrival at a boundary for identity fixing. I call this the nethi nethi syndrome, borrowing from the Upanishads. It is definition by negation.

But such an overcritical viewing of identity that negates any bounding impedes the participation of women in policy as a political presence drawn from a collective identity. An identity tag (based on some markings, bodily or through the experience of subordination and exclusion), is crucial for claiming rights and special attention [Jain 2002]. Such a clear identity tag, which

Economic and Political Weekly February 24, 2007 is more easily available to, say, dalits, or to blacks in Africa or in white nations, is difficult to forge for the woman – identity due to her presence in all these other categories with all their separate politics. Gendering public policy is intimately related to our answers to these questions.

In Women, Development, and the UN – A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice, [Jain 2005b] I have reviewed the historical struggle of women to be understood and included and given space and citizenhood on an equal basis in the international arena of justice. I found that whenever women did achieve some “success” by breaking through the male bastions of knowledge and power, it was through strategising on collective identity as woman, as well as by inclusion of even one woman in a drafting committee. I call this strategising space a “place of one’s own” [Woolf 1977] or “the women’s tent”.1 While the place of one’s own is needed to develop self-confidence, to face the bigger world, it also made the “outside” see the “tent” as a separate entity. This perception perpetuates the women for women by women to women syndrome, a syndrome which is excluding women not only from recasting and reordering development, but also denying the course of development to reflect the lived experience of women. Policy issues are not only about women’s issues. Women need a say in all issues as partners in the development of society. Thus the place of one’s own can be a powerhouse or a ghetto, or both.

An Organised Voice

The 60-year review referred to above does point to some useful directions for women’s participation in social change. First, there is value and usefulness in bonding across differences on the identity of woman, and strategising in meaningful ways for inclusion in public affairs. Hence an organised voice represented by the women’s tent is a crucial brick in this effort. Such an inclusion is necessary, for instance, if we have to stem militarisation. Then women’s tent can also be a peace tent.

Secondly we need knowledge that delineates concealed details regarding differences within households and families, between the sexes, and in the various processes of reproduction, production, exchange. We may call this mapping the social and economic location of women in the above landscapes. Knowing can be a first step.

Thirdly power can be claimed through some semblance of a collective identity, a USP or flag. There has been much discussion on this issue [Longino 1993] of building a maintainable unity, a united stand. This continues to be a quest. However, it is suggested here that it is increasingly being argued that participation in leadership, in formal politics,2 can provide the turning point. Bonding across difference on the identity of woman, and strategising for inclusion as a collective voice can redress all aspects of gender derived discrimination, whether it is the demeaning gaze, the mindset; the stereotypical perceptions of women’s roles and capabilities, or the embedded discriminatory practices – all these are linked elements of gender relations. The recent conference in New York called Beijing +103 revealed again the continuing disjunction between the reality on the ground and the sense of progress created by the “visibility” [Jain 2005a] level achieved by gendered analysis.

This disjunction can be seen in two opposite trajectories relating to women and development. The first trajectory is the emergence of a strong political presence in the national and international scene of the women’s movement. There is now a widespread consciousness of the necessity of engaging in gendered analysis that recognises both difference and inequality and their implications for development design. The other trajectory reveals that the situation on the ground for many women, especially those living in poverty and in conflict-ridden situations, seems to have worsened, despite the fact that it has been addressed specifically by both the state and development thought.

The question that arises then is, why does this disjunction exist after decades of what appears to be a vibrant and ostensibly effective partnership between policy-makers and the women’s movement? How much of the oppositional trajectories can be attributed to the external atmospherics of global power politics and its attendant economics? How much can be attributed to other factors, such as the style of functioning and priorities of the women’s movement or its experience of the gendered institutional architecture of governance?

Interventions in Policy

Two examples from Karnataka of gendering policy will be discussed to illustrate these problems – the problem of differences between women need not be a hindrance; one can address the common experience of discrimination and inequality by women as a group. We can build adequate knowledge of the social embeddedness of gender roles, then intervene in policy by studying the impact of gender insensitive formulations and identifying areas where interventions are possible.

The first is drawn from an attempt made in Karnataka to integrate women’s interest into a state five-year plan (1983).4

Before we discuss the actual study it is pertinent to recall the tremendous advances made in understanding women’s work. Without this background knowledge one would not have been able to evaluate any policy or programme.

The field of women’s work became one of the major research domains both nationally and internationally. It was one of the most creative pursuits, influencing international organisations like the ILO. This focus helped to underline the ground realities in the developing countries. The women’s movement then began to address the core issue of survival security for the principal defender of the family, namely the woman. This generated discussion on issues such as measurement and inclusion of invisible unpaid work, rural women’s work, discrimination in wages, job security and revaluing what was called the “informal” sector.

This new research about women as workers entered the development discourse. They looked at practices of national data collecting agencies that list women engaged in domestic work as unemployed, concern and analysis about unequal wages, discrimination against women in the workplace, women’s double burden of work for wages and work at home, the role that the tasks women perform to make possible other members’ involvement in marketable production or service, and the absence of social security for women who perform unpaid labour at home. From a more narrow and focused approach on women’s status vis-à-vis men, this research broadened the scope of investigation to look at the broader implications of global and national economic, political, and social changes and their impact on women’s lives in their entirety.

The study was initiated in the 1980s by the Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) partly because of the impetus of the overall “ideology” that was developed in international fora, of bringing

Economic and Political Weekly February 24, 2007

women into development; and partly due to our interest in finding ways to enable women to move out of poverty. It should be recalled that it was around the 1970s and 1980s that women’s studies and women’s advocacy were emerging as major players in the struggle for women’s equality. There was now a recognition that the “household” needed to be broken open – as it was not as believed, a “benign” shelter for all its inhabitants.5

Disparate Impacts

Individuals within households had highly disparate locations in power, apart from inequalities in occupations, health and education. This disparity amongst individuals seemed to be the more enlarged the lower one went down in the asset/income scale. Inspired by the international efforts at documenting the disparate impact of development between men and women, the study focused on examining the reach of the anti-poverty programmes on women. What emerged was that the household was not benign and definitely not a level playing field for men and women. In the poor households women had a different source of income from men. The study came up with the idea that women within poverty households should be independently identified and reached out to with anti-poverty programmes such as IRDP. We found setting a target for women within such programmes was flawed on many counts, not least by inappropriate development offers and false reporting by functionaries.

This was further corroborated during the process of preparing a report for the Karnataka State Planning Board called District Level Planning for Social Development.6 For the report district level studies were commissioned – one from a backward district, Gulbarga, and one advanced, Dakshina Kannada. Achieving a target of covering couples of reproductive age with contraceptive services was irrelevant in Dakshina Kannada (a district on Karnataka’s west coast, known for advancement in social indicators) where the fertility rate had already reached two births per woman in the reproductive age group (the replacement level fertility), and in some villages less than two, but the fund allocated to the district continued to be allocated only for that purpose, and when its irrelevance was brought out nothing could be done to shift the funds from contraception to more advanced healthcare.7

Planned development appeared, as it does even now, as blind rubber stamping of schemes. An even more significant lesson was that the methodology being used did not reach poor men either. The process was completely flawed for men and women amongst the poor or deprived. It transpires that the method adopted for stimulating development was critical, even superseded the task of gendering or integrating women into development.

The second is a project undertaken in Karnataka by the World Bank8 to improve the quality of the cocoons in the sericulture industry. The project did not use the available knowledge about women’s work.

Sericulture was one of the dominant land-based activities in Karnataka and the perception of the policy designers was that women were not an issue in this project. It was perceived that women were basically using thrown away cocoons which had holes in them to make garlands. They were seen as not engaged in the basic chain of production and the sale of cocoons. An actual investigation that sought to break down tasks in the chain of production revealed that while mulberry was grown by the farmers, the men, it was women who not only picked the leaves but looked after the trays in which the silkworms were nursed or nurtured. The silkworms are usually kept in trays called “chandrikes” in shelves inside the home and have to be fed mulberry leaves every three hours just like a child, and the offal has to be removed as frequently so that they do not get diseased. Women in the strong sericulture areas complained that not only were their houses completely cramped with silkworms, leaving hardly any place for the kitchen or their children, but the silkworm was more demanding than the child as it had a compulsive demand for leaves every three hours. Thus they were awake most of the night and most of them had chronic illnesses due to the suffocating atmosphere in the hut and the unremitting labour of cocoon rearing.

Despite their being the main rearers of worms, the women were not at all brought into the project. They were not given training on better rearing, on what were the special characteristics of feeding and health for the new worms that were introduced, they did not receive information about the new fodder; they were not shown how to upgrade the quality of the yarn they spent time on. Thus women’s contribution to the process of silk manufacture was unrecognised, with consequences for policy. It appears that the old Ester Boserup9 story of the 1970s where she bemoans the non-recognition of women as farmers continues [Jain 2003a].

Classical Invisibility

As a result of lobbying both in Washington and in Karnataka with the government, a task force on sericulture was set up by the government of Karnataka with the principal secretary, agriculture, as its chair. All the relevant agencies were around the table and the meeting was to show that there needs to be greater inclusion of women as workers in the sericulture development programmes. It was found that this classical invisibility of women workers, especially when the productive work is within the home, had deprived them of being engaged in the training for improved rearing practices as well as marketing.

There was no hostel accommodation for women at the Sericulture Training Institute, a state government institution. A proposal was made by the task force to build a women’s hostel using another government scheme called “Hostels for working women”. However, the task force neither sustained itself nor did it make for any transformation in the lives and concerns of women in the sericulture project.

A similar experience is recorded of the matching study that ISST took up with the ‘tasar’10 industry in Maharashtra. Again women were major workers, but unrecognised, and nothing was done. The report funded by the Swiss development corporation tried to change this perception but it had no impact. The studies undertaken by ISST in various parts of India and in Karnataka11 presented information on women’s productive roles, and argued that the projects were losing out on success by not recognising this. While this resulted in gendered analysis, it did not change the project.

Some new opportunities are emerging in India, and more strongly in Karnataka. These may help us incorporate the lessons learnt from history, mentioned earlier in this essay. To reiterate: we had talked of (i) the usefulness and value of bonding across difference on the identity of woman, and strategising for inclusion,

(ii) the need for knowledge about women’s various productive and other roles and their location within the household, families and community, (iii) power claimed through a collective identity.

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An aspect of the Karnataka landscape of governance and development, which offers some niches, some conduits for affirming these views is the long-standing and politically well supported decentralised management of development, especially the economic and social justice agendas.

For example, as far back as in 1994, Karnataka’s State Planning Board (earlier called Economic Planning Council (EPC)) set up two subgroups, one for district level planning for employment, and the other for district level planning for social development. The main task of the subgroups was to provide effective social and economic security to the poor and improve the quality of administering these services, all at the district and subdistrict level of accountability. Interestingly, in 2005, the Planning Commission has set up an expert group to draw up guidelines for the states on what they call grassroot planning for development, and the thrust is to reduce if not eliminate the state dictated schemes, the pre-packaged development bundles that are handed out, and leave planning to local communities to design the use of untied funds.

Consolidating Multiple Schemes

The subgroup working with secretaries to government of each sector and some CEOs, or chief secretaries of districts as they were called at the time, was able to rationalise the 75 schemes into 15 bundles, and suggested that instead of having 15 schemes coming out of 15 departments even these could be bundled into a social development service as one sector, and the fund could be used for “provisioning of social development services to the poor”, with the functionaries attached to the service coming under one nomenclature called social development services providers. Thus the departmental boundaries would be liquidated, and the multiple schemes would be consolidated without losing the overall intention.

One of the suggestions made by the subgroup, that there should be social mapping of the state, to show variations in human development indices between districts in order to identify gaps in performance and to spot inter-district variations, was not implemented. However, this compliance came later. During 1995-97 Karnataka developed a human development report that put together district level indicators and indices12 – a first in state level human development reports in India.

In neither of the illustrations from Karnataka given above did this opportunity for intervention yield a clear “tool” to tell us what to do and how to intervene. However there is now, as I write this article, an opportunity to engage with political power due to the clearer, more firm legally and politically ordained devolution of economic planning power and funds to the locally elected bodies in Karnataka.

Significant changes have been brought about in the state in the fiscal year 2005-06 (embodied in the state budget). State sector schemes pertaining to the 29 subjects in Schedule XI of the 73rd amendment have been merged in the district sector schemes to be implemented by the panchayat institutions. From April 1, 2005 about Rs 3,500 crore have been thus devolved to panchayat institutions at grama, taluka and zilla levels. The departments have been asked to amend and issue afresh all government orders, notifications, circulars, etc, in accordance with these charges.

Most importantly some of the negative features in administration have also been removed. Departments are directed not to establish parallel bodies which were scuttling devolution intended by the 73rd amendment. Existing parallel bodies are to be now reconstituted under the chairmanship of the ‘adhyaksha’ of the zilla parishad. Besides, World Bank or external aided projects are to be implemented through PRIs only.

Right from the beginning, when the Ramakrishna Hegde government in Karnataka, in collaboration with Abdul Nazeer Saab, the minister for rural development, brought in legislation to set up elected local councils, the legislation also included reservation for women. Women elected to councils have been invited to meetings held by women’s organisations and attempts are made to give them a collective identity and give them a sense of knowledge based confidence . As the panchayati raj movement grew and broadened with the introduction of the 73rd and 74th amendments by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Singamma Sreenivasan (SS) Foundation, for example, got even more deeply engaged in strengthening those women who had been elected to serve on these councils.

Uniting across Party Lines

One of the first initiatives that they took was to bring them under one organisation, namely “an association of elected women representatives”. While this may look baffling since the representatives come from different parties, in Karnataka it was found that women were willing to join an association of themselves across party lines. They seemed to need that collective strength in order to generate the self-confidence to bring their voice into the meetings. The women’s collectives and collectivities also have an additional feature, namely, they are united across class, where poor and non-poor women engage in issues which impact women like domestic violence, or water, or reproductive health, especially in urban slums and rural areas.

Using the collectives especially at the level of grama panchayats, the foundation then built three other programmes on these groups. The foundation then initiated similar projects in three other southern states, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and is now coordinating a network of agencies in these four states, all of which are engaged in creating collectivities of these elected women and enabling them to strengthen their technical skills as well as their political presence in the local self-government institutions.

Rather than “train” them they have been formed into groups and these groups engage with themselves to create their own space, debate among themselves and devise programmes instead of being in mixed councils. Women’s capability for collective action and their capability to form collectivities are transforming many programmes, processes and outcomes.

Currently, many women’s organisations are partnering with state governments to strengthen the capability of women elected to these local self-government institutions to participate in if not lead development in their areas. For example, the SS Foundation has made a novel endeavour to enable elected women representatives (EWRs) to construct budgets, such that the interest of women and other subordinated groups is safeguarded. It is not just a programme to raise awareness about budgets amongst local women politicians but to enable women to direct the economy from a space available to them. This helps them to understand, participate and transform local budgets.

The design of the effective participation has been enabled by collaboration with Janaagraha, an urban NGO which uses three

Economic and Political Weekly February 24, 2007

cornered stakeholders’ meetings, namely the civil servant who is the commissioner of the municipality, the ward committee and the elected corporators, to have a transparent process of understanding and influencing revenue collection and expenditures and monitoring outcomes. This method has been tried in two municipalities – Mysore and Tumkur. The municipalities have changed their budget allocations as a result of collective lobbying by the elected women corporators across party lines. Similar experience has been found in two other pockets of Karnataka

– Bijapur and Bellary.

Another project that they were exposed to was to use their kitchen gardens for growing medicinal plants. This has now caught the imagination of the grama panchayats and at least four districts will be engaged in a movement for environment security, health security and livelihood security through the growing of medicinal plants.

The outcome of these exercises is that in the Mysore City Corporation, women’s issues were not only included, but allocations to certain women’s schemes were increased in the budget for 2005-06.

Dramatic Shifts

Today, the situation and character of the various actors in governance have shifted quite dramatically and in significant ways. The state is receding from its earlier role as being responsible to the citizens for their well-being, especially provisioning of basic securities. Civil society including the women’s movement is becoming stronger on the one hand but also paradoxically more fragmented. The international configuration of power is changing, with the UN’s influence receding and the other world organisations like the World Bank and other multilaterals like the WTO occupying centre stage. The market economy, signified by the corporates, is playing a larger role in national and international governance than before, including the provisioning of public goods. There is also a return to conservative politics, and various forms of fundamentalism, across the globe.

Simultaneously there are the usual paradoxes in women’s domain. There is an increase in the political participation of women in governance, especially at the local level. There is an increase in the capabilities and power of the women’s movement, in knowledge and organisational capacities in the informal economy as workers and traders and to contest violence against women. There is a shift in the nature of employment opportunities. There is increasing absorption of female labour into the new opportunities for earning income like in export processing and simultaneously a decline in the opportunities for men. This arises because of the nature of the growth poles and the nature of the organisation of production and trade. Women are on the move, selling either their bodies or their time to earn income for their families. The UN report on women and development for the year 200413 shows how the largest group or proportion of workers uncovered by any protection are women and women migrants. The demand for women as workers in the flesh trade has made the flow of women across borders jump by leaps and bounds. The value of the flesh trade is now greater than the value of the trade in narcotics.

At the very beginning, women’s quest was for equality or for overpowering, if not eradicating, inequality. The strategy of levelling the playing field by bringing in laws, introducing the power of rights, and finding ways to move women out of what looked like disadvantaged positions seemed all right for several decades. But it was clearly not enough. There was deep, widespread, unimaginable, and invisible discrimination. The women’s movement responded to this by making inequality visible. But that did not take care of the ignorance and non-recognition of women’s value as citizens, workers and providers. Their contribution to society is equal to if not even richer in value than men’s. So the movement generated new knowledge to show the role of women in development – again with the expectation that revealing truth would lead to women’s equality with men. But that strategy still disabled them because they had no voice in the determination of their lives and their road maps. Thus, the notion of equal participation, of equal power, of leadership was worked into the notions of ways to redress inequality.

Old Method Continues

What we have seen is that while knowledge has increased and been funnelled into the policy spaces, the advice of women has not been taken, their leadership in directing public policy has not happened, to a corresponding extent. The old method of “integrating” through women only packages, mainly social development package schemes for women, continues.

The revelatory aspect of this story can be summarised in the importance of space not only in funds but at the level of the intellect, for the excluded to claim their rights. Decentralisation with a quota of one-third seats for women has opened a new gateway in India and especially in Karnataka. But it is not enough.

The first need is to reconsider the paradigm of development itself, the identification of the engines of growth. Instead of seeing the poor as a target group who need special ladders within a framework of economic development, enabling them to become economic and political agents could itself become the engine of growth. Thus, from a “trickle down” or social safety net approach, it would be useful to look at what can be called the “bubbling up” theory of growth. This alternative theory argues that putting incomes and political power in the hands of the poor could generate the demand and the voice that would direct development. The purchasing power and the choices of the poor could direct the economy to a pro-poor or poverty reducing economy. The review of the past seems to suggest some dramatic reversal of the current theories of where the engine of growth lies if the interest is in poverty eradication [Jain 2003b].

Mahatma Gandhi in fact had designed such a theory and a proposal for its practice. To some extent it could even be said that such a theory is close to, though not the same as, Keynes’ theory of stimulating an economy by generating effective demand. Here the further detailing is: whose effective demand? Whose purchasing power? Gandhi’s talisman, his test for action, was this: “Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man/woman whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him” [Jain 1996].

A major fault line that runs through narrations of history and their knowledge base, whether it is political, economic or social history, is the failure to take note of, to understand and respect and absorb, women’s ideational and intellectual skills and outputs in the area of theoretical and analytical knowledge. While some of the values emerging from the understanding of poverty, inequality, discrimination, conflict resolution, deepening

Economic and Political Weekly February 24, 2007 participation, method, politics that this interaction or partnership generated has been applied or followed up on belatedly, recognition of the intellectual and leadership powers of women has remained in the ghettos. The minds of men have not changed.

And for that to happen, it seems that it is necessary to recast the development framework, to come out with a treatise, a theoretically stand-alone development model which satisfies the external world changes and yet women’s quest. The movement did some of this twenty years ago, at Nairobi, through DAWN, the third world network.14 But another such framework is needed now and it can be done if women put their minds together. Women’s brilliant struggles need to be treated as a body of knowledge, chiselled into theory, into an intellectual challenge to what “is”, i e, the currently dominant ideas for national and international advancement. The importance of an intellectual theoretical construct out of the ground experience, which can claim space in the world of theoretical discourse, must not be minimised. A new Das Kapital or Wealth of Nations is the only bomb that can explode the patriarchal mindset and exclusion of the real agency of women in public policy.




1 In many international conferences women organised a separate “tent” where many activities were carried out with an autonomy not available in the general conference schedules.

2 UN Economic and Social Council (2000): ‘Assessment of the Implementation of the System-wide Medium-Term Plan for the Advancement of Women 1996-2001’; Report of the Secretary-General, Commission on the Status of Women, Forty-fourth session, February 28-March 2, 2000; Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing from September 4 to 15, 1995; including the Agenda, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (Extract) in The United Nations and the Advancement of Women, pp 649-735.

3 Commission on the Status of Women, Forty-Ninth Session, New York, February 28-March 11, 2005.

4 Integrating Women’s Interests into State Five-Year Plan, submitted to the ministry of social welfare, government of India in September 1984, used in an article by K S Krishnaswamy and Shashi Rajagopal, ‘Women in Employment: A Micro Study in Karnataka’, based on the ISST Bangalore Report, Jain and Banerjee (1985).

5 ‘The Household Trap: Report on a Field Survey of Female Activity Patterns’, pp 215-46, Jain and Banerjee (1985); Folbre (1994).

6 District Level Planning for Social Development, Devaki Jain, Chairperson of Subcommittee, Karnataka State Planning Board (1994), government of Karnataka.

7 Report from Dakshina Kannada by Shalini Rajaneesh, IAS.

8 Assessment of Women’s Roles: The Karnataka Sericulture Development Project, ISST, 1982, Task Force on Sericulture, for a World Bank funded project, government of Karnataka.

9 Boserup 1999; oral communication: Maithreyi Krishnaraj’s study of Women in Agriculture – a Millennium Study for the government of India, which she had titled Women Farmers of India on publication was retitled Women in Agriculture by the publisher in 2004!

10 Interstate Tasar Project, report on a field survey in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, ISST, 1982. 11 Impact of Sericulture Pilot Project in Karnataka: An Evaluation, ISST, 1989. 12 Human Development in Karnataka 1999,Planning Department, government of Karnataka, 1999.

13 Department of Economic and Social Affairs, DAW (2004): World Survey on the Role of Women in Development – Women and International Migration, UN, New York, 2005.

14 The Bangalore Report: A Process for Nairobi at Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, ISST, New Delhi, 1984.


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  • (2003a): ‘Are We Knowledge Proof? Development as Waste’, speech delivered at Lovraj Kumar Memorial Lecture, New Delhi, September 26 (reprinted in Wastelands News, Vol XIX, No 1, August-October 2003, Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development, New Delhi, pp 19-30).
  • (2003b): ‘Enabling Reduction of Poverty and Inequality in South Asia’ in Population and Poverty: Achieving Equity, Equality and Sustainability, New York, UNFPA, pp 99-100.
  • (2004): ‘Women’s Participation in the History of Ideas: The Importance of Reconstructing Knowledge’, National Institute for Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, February 6.
  • (2005a): ‘Spaces and Hopes’, The Hindu, April 3.
  • (2005b): Women, Development, and the UN: A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice, Indiana University Press, New York (website: or book can be ordered from IUP by email:
  • Jain, Devaki and Nirmala Banerjee (eds) (1985): Tyranny of the Household
  • Investigative Essays on Women’s Work, for the Workshop Women in Poverty, Shakti Books, New Delhi. Longino, Helen E (1993): ‘Feminist Standpoint Theory and the Problems of Knowledge’, Signs, Autumn, Vol 19, No 1, pp 201-12.
  • Morrisson, C and J P Jutting (2005): ‘Women’s Discrimination in Developing Countries: A New Data Set for Better Policies’, World Development, Vol 33, No 7, July, pp 1065-81.

    Woolf, Virginia (1977): A Room of One’s Own, Granada, originally published in 1929.

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