The quest for gender equality & gender justice in India: interrogating the role of the state- from independence to the era of neoliberal reform

Singh, Hena (2019). The quest for gender equality & gender justice in India: interrogating the role of the state- from independence to the era of neoliberal reform. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This research investigates the varying ways in which two different groups of women workers have been impacted by the neoliberal reforms undertaken by successive Indian governments from the 1990s onwards. The point of departure, substantiated by extant research, is that globalization has been structurally disadvantageous to women, specifically the ‘rolling back’ of the state has meant that some of the significant gains achieved by and for women in the post-independence period in India have also been ‘rolled back’ or are being eroded. However, the ways in which women have been impacted by neoliberal globalization in the Indian context varies according to a range of factors including class, occupation, levels of education and specific skills and location (urban or rural). A central contention of the thesis is that the Indian state has played a crucial role in improving the status of Indian women and must continue to make strategic interventions in social and economic relations to ameliorate gender disadvantage and empower women. To that end it also interrogates the role of the Indian state in the quest of gender equality and gender justice in the period from independence up-to the era of neoliberal reforms. The thesis accepts the point that in the context of globalization, the state can no longer be considered a wholly autonomous actor and yet, it remains the major institution charged with the delivery of welfare and social justice to its citizens. As such, the thesis concludes with recommendations for a strategy for empowerment which is both ‘top down’ and ‘bottom-up’; meaning that the delivery of development and social welfare, justice to women specifically necessarily entails negotiating and mediating between ‘global’ forces (specifically international economic organizations and development agencies) and the needs and demands of citizens as they are articulated at regional and local levels.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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