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Women's participation in the planning process: A case study of rural villages in the Uttarkashi district
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Architecture and Water.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Cities and villages are built by and for its inhabitants, and are designed to support different kind of lifestyles, needs and habits. In turn, urban and village planning and consequently its structures greatly influence the daily lives of the inhabitants of said structures. The relation between gender roles (and subsequent gender inequality), and planning processes is relevant, because the distribution of power affects the planning of communities and the resulting development. This is not limited to cities, but all planned settlements – rural as well as urban.

The local instrument for rural development in India is the gram panchayat, a local council where inhabitants can propose developments for their village, if voted through, where these projects are organized and implemented.

In India, women and men are not able to lead equal lives. When a society is unequal, inequality can manifest itself throughout structures in society – physical as well as nonphysical. Since culture is a set of rules for how to live in a society, treating men and women differently has to be a part of these rules (or at least not contested) for an unequal society to remain the same.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate how the present gender roles in the Indian culture affect the participation of women in the gram panchayat, and how this affects the development of rural villages. In order to investigate this issue, a literature study was conducted to understand India as a country, its culture and gram panchayat system, and knowledge of gender roles present in the Indian society. Interviews were held with representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to gain additional information about the Indian culture, gender roles and living circumstances in the rural parts of Uttarakhand. The case study consists of field studies in rural villages in the Uttarkashi district, where women were interviewed regarding their participation in the gram panchayats i.e. the local planning process.

The results of the study show that there are gender roles present in the Indian culture which are mostly shown through a clear division in responsibilities between women and men in India. Results from the literature study and the interviews indicate that these gender roles have their roots in religion, mainly Hinduism since it is the dominant religion in India. In the rural villages in the case study, this division in responsibilities mean that some women are not participating in the planning process because they do not have the time, and sometimes they are not called to the gram panchayat meetings at all. There were however women in both villages from the field studies who participated.

The results are inconclusive regarding whether the participation of women in the planning process affects the resulting development in the villages. However, some researchers argue that equality between the genders contributes positively to overall development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Gender, planning, rural, interview, panchayat, India
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64076DiVA, id: diva2:1110464
Educational program
Architectural Engineering, master's level
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Available from: 2017-06-19 Created: 2017-06-15 Last updated: 2017-08-15Bibliographically approved

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