How can we improve socio-economic condition of women?


Aspects of discrimination against women in India are summarized, a case study of a rural district in Orissa is presented, and the article follows with a suggested 3-part strategy of education, employment and appropriate technology. The economic role played by women is difficult to quantitate because of their lifestyle that combines domestic work and unpaid family or low-paid outside farm or cottage industry labor. Besides these tasks, women usually care for dairy animals, and carry water and firewood. Discrimination against women in this system is evident, however, from some available statistics. 46% of women, as opposed to 20% of men, work as agricultural laborers. Women are denied education because they are not expected to do responsible work, then they are denied employment because they are not educated. Their work is counted as worth only half that of men, and based on this assumption, they are paid less then men. The male heads of 124 households in 7 villages in the Orissa area were interviewed to study labor participation of household members. 89% of the people worked in agriculture, 94% in rice paddy and 6% in oilseed or pulses for cash crops. The average farm size was 2.29 acres. Female literacy had risen to 14.3% from 1% 10 years before. Women usually worked in transplantation, weeding, harvesting and threshing, but also in heavier farm labor, construction of roads and buildings, quarrying and forestry. In this poor, hilly region, the custom of purdah was not practiced to the extent of keeping women from doing day labor outside the home. The authors' suggested strategy for women's development included appropriate technology such as the Gobar methane gas plant, provision of credit for women's industries, retention of girls in school and literacy programs for girls and women, and higher wages for women.

Cite this paper

@article{Mohapatra1988HowCW, title={How can we improve socio-economic condition of women?}, author={Prakash Chandra Mohapatra and Biren Pattanaik}, journal={Yojana}, year={1988}, volume={32 9}, pages={13-7, 25} }