Accepted paper:

Crises in tribal women's empowerment in Orissa, India


Carol Wrenn (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Paper abstract:

This paper is based on field work conducted in Orissa, India from February - August 2010, focusing on the Santhal tribe. It analyses the experiences of Santhal women in terms of official policies of political empowerment within the context of the Maoist insurgency and environmental issues. There are multiple crises on tribal political structures, including the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution, (which includes a 33% reservation for women in local politics), the intensity of Maoist activities and subsequent state suppression, as well as environmental issues such as deforestation. There are also a number of top down development policies, which have questionable impact on improving the standard of living for these tribes, who still live at basic subsistence levels. My paper will analyse how Santhal communities, women in particular, are dealing with and addressing these multiple crises and will assess the impact of official "empowerment" policies.

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