Gender, liberalization and agrarian change in Telangana

2005 2005

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates the origin, content and impact of gender and liberalization policies within the region of Telangana in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. My analysis is based upon a year of fieldwork in the region as well as data from the National Sample Surveys. I argue that making women favored ‘clients of the development process’ gave the state in Andhra Pradesh legitimacy within local politics as well as with external funding agencies, smoothing the transition to a liberalization regime. However, the policy context of liberalization has meant that the state has reduced its share of expenditure on ‘social reproduction’ in recent years and the substantive content of its ‘women's empowerment’ policy is a highly publicized thrift and micro-credit program for women. While this program does address women as autonomous economic agents, it fails to account for the fact that hierarchies of gender are cross-cut by class and caste. In claiming to empower women through a program that lacks fiscal support and relies upon the expenditure of time and resources by participants themselves, the program serves to re-emphasize these hierarchies and tends to exclude the poorest, lowest caste women.

Meanwhile there has been an increase in female labor force participation in the postliberalization period. This increase is best explained as the result of a ‘supply push’, reflecting the agrarian distress in this region. There is little improvement in the conditions under which women and men labor. As a result employment may not be translating into increased empowerment for women. Furthermore, the cultural context that shapes gender inequality in this region is also changing as denoted by an expansion of the practice and amounts of dowry. Dowry in Telangana may indicate a shift away from egalitarian marriage practices and a reduction in the level of material and emotional support a woman can claim from her natal kin. While this change predates liberalization policies, it increases overall economic insecurity for women in the region. It must thus be taken into account by policy makers if they do not wish to exacerbate the economic vulnerabilities of women.

Indexing (details)

Womens studies
0501: Economics
0453: Womens studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Agrarian change; Gender; India; Liberalization; Telangana
Gender, liberalization and agrarian change in Telangana
Rao, Smriti
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 66/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542198182, 0542198185
Deere, Carmen Diana
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.