Towards Achieving Gender Justice- The Case of Guaranteed Rural Wage Employment in India


Gender imbalance had been pervasively dominant and disturbing characteristics of traditional rural societies of India. Therefore, achieving gender justice at household and society levels in social, economic and political spheres in rural India had been a major concern of all development professionals and the state and civil society too. It is well recognised that the deep rooted gender inequalities in patriarchal society can't be addressed adequately until women's access to and control over economic resources and institutions improve significantly. Several different socio-economic and political instruments and interventions had been launched during the last six decades to bring about greater equity and harmony in the gender relations. The mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA-2015) was one such unprecedented intervention in the labour market with a built in(positive) gender bias. The Acts aimed at enhancing livelihood security of households in rural areas by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteered to do unskilled manual work. The scale of finance, the universalisation in targeting minimum one-third coverage of women was expected to make significant dent on gender related issues. This study also established the same by capturing the increased participation of women in MGNREGS and thereby changing the gender relations at both household and community level. The study finds that the social development and inclusive economic growth are necessary for improved gender relations. Mobilisation, education and organization of poor women are the necessary conditions for achieving good governance and gender justice.

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