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A Two-Step Approach to Integrating Gender Justice into Mitigation Policy: Examples from India


Michael, Kavya, Manish Kumar Shrivastava, Arunima Hakhu, and Kavya Bajaj. 2020. “A Two-Step Approach to Integrating Gender Justice into Mitigation Policy: Examples from India.” Climate Policy 20 (7): 800–14.

Authors: Kavya Michael, Manish Kumar Shrivastava, Arunima Hakhu, Kavya Bajaj


Concerns over social justice cannot be separated from concerns over the environment, and vice-versa. Gender in the climate change literature is predominantly vulnerability and adaptation centric, with a glaring gap in research on understanding the relationship between mitigation and gender justice. Building on the insights from gender justice, environmental justice, and climate justice scholarship, this paper argues that mitigation policy should be conceived not only in terms of transition to a low carbon economy but also as an instrument for enhancing gender justice. To conceptualize such a mitigation policy, we propose a two-step approach, combining the works of Schlosberg, Fraser, and Sen. We argue that, to start with, it is important to identify relevant forms of exclusion, and then, in turn, to identify opportunities for ‘parity of participation’ of women in the mitigation policy cycle. This must be supplemented with identification of, and efforts at, building long-lasting supporting capabilities. Application of the proposed approach is illustrated through three examples from India: the National REDD+ Strategy, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) for cleaner fuels, and the International Solar Training Programme (Solar Mamas). We illustrate how the Solar Mamas scheme is closer to the proposed two-step approach and hence better integrates mitigation and gender justice objectives, whereas the REDD+ and the PMUY need revisiting with additional provisions and reconceptualization. The paper suggests that mainstreaming of gender justice into implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement is a promising new field of research.

Keywords: gender justice, gender mainstreaming, mitigation, capability

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Justice Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Bright as Night: Illuminating the Antinomies of ‘Gender Positive’ Solar Development


Stock, Ryan. 2021. “Bright as Night: Illuminating the Antinomies of ‘Gender Positive’ Solar Development.” World Development 138. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105196.

Author: Ryan Stock


India is undergoing a rapid transition to renewable energy; the Gujarat Solar Park typifies this transition. In addition to mitigating climate change, the Gujarat Solar Park boasts female empowerment through social development schemes. This manuscript is inspired by the following research question: To what extent are ‘gender positive’ processes and projects associated with solar development in India realized on the ground? Utilizing mixed methods fieldwork and drawing on literature from feminist political ecology, this paper demonstrates how the modalities of solar park development represent an antinomy of a nature-society relation. New configurations of labor under the political economy of solar have produced a gendered surplus population of landless peasants who are not absorbed into wage-labor employment in the solar park. Further, associated social development schemes actually disempower women, despite mandates of ‘gender positive’ outcomes by UN-based climate treaties to which this project is beholden. The opportunity to participate in one such scheme for female empowerment was reserved for only women of middle-to-high class status and those of dominant castes, thereby reproducing class and caste-based social power asymmetries. Female (dis)empowerment eclipses ‘gender positive’ guarantees of the solar park. This study highlights some unintended consequences of sustainable energy transitions in the Global South at the local scale. Designing development interventions related to climate change mitigation that boast ‘gender positive’ outcomes must be careful not to exacerbate gender disparities and economic exclusion in rural areas.

Keywords: energy transition, solar park, antinomy, feminist political ecology, gender, intersectionality

Topics: Caste, Class, Development, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2021

Caste, Class and Gender in Determining Access to Energy: A Critical Review of LPG Adoption in India


Patnaik, Sasmita, and Shaily Jha. 2020. “Caste, Class and Gender in Determining Access to Energy: A Critical Review of LPG Adoption in India.” Energy Research & Social Science 67. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2020.101530.

Authors: Sasmita Patnaik, Shaily Jha


Complex interrelationships between caste, class and gender in India define opportunities and access to energy for certain social groups differently than others. An understanding of access to energy through these lenses allows us to design energy policies differently, accounting for the socio-economic inequality in pricing, subsidies and implementation of policies. This paper attempts to evaluate access to energy through the lens of caste, class and gender. We use an integrated framework (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) ) to analyse Government of India's most recent and possibly the largest initiative for the provision of clean cooking energy - Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), and assess the extent to which PMUY is able to enhance use of LPG by overcoming the existing caste, class and gender-based exclusion. The analysis of PMUY has been supported through theoretical insights from the literature and empirical evidence from India's largest multidimensional energy access database – ACCESS 2018. Though the scheme recognises the pre-existing inequities, our analysis suggests a focus on caste, class and gender in the implementation procedures would be imperative for the scheme along with others focused on LPG access to achieve its objective.

Topics: Caste, Class, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Rural Electrification, Gender and the Labor Market: A Cross-Country Study of India and South Africa


Rathi, Sambhu Singh, and Claire Vermaak. 2018. “Rural Electrification, Gender and the Labor Market: A Cross-Country Study of India and South Africa.” World Development 109: 346-59.

Authors: Sambhu Singh Rathi, Claire Vermaak


This cross-country study estimates the effect of household electrification on labor market outcomes for rural individuals in India and South Africa, two developing countries that have implemented large-scale rural electrification schemes in recent decades. Two identification strategies are used: propensity score matching and panel fixed effects estimation. We focus on three indicators of labor market success: employment, earnings and hours worked. We find that electrification raises the annual incomes earned by those who work in paid employment, for both men and women in both countries. For India, both genders work fewer hours, suggesting that electricity raises productivity. For South Africa, where the labor market has less absorptive capacity, there is no employment benefit of electrification. But women who work benefit the most from the productivity gains of electrification: they have greater increases in earnings than men. Our findings suggest that the benefits of electrification do not accrue universally, but rather depend on gender roles, supporting policies and the labor absorptive capacity of the economy.

Keywords: rural electrification, labor market, gender, India, South Africa

Topics: Economies, Gender, Gender Roles, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: India, South Africa

Year: 2018

Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India


Sedai, A. K., R. Nepal, and T. Jamasb. 2020. “Electrification and Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women in India.” Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Cambridge University, London.

Authors: A. K. Sedai, R. Nepal, T. Jamasb


This study examines the effect of quality of electrification on empowerment of women in terms of economic autonomy, agency, mobility, decision-making abilities, and time allocation in fuel collection in India. It moves beyond the consensus of counting electried households as a measure of progress in gender parity, and analyzes how the quality of electrification affects women's intra-household bargaining power, labor supply decision and fuel collection time. We develop a set of indices using principal component analysis from a large cross-section of gender-disaggregated survey. We use two stage least squares instrumental variables regression to assess the causal effect of access and hours of electricity on women's empowerment using geographic instrumental variables along with district and caste fixed effects. The results show that quality of electrication has significant positive effects on all empowerment indices. However, the effect differs at the margin of defficiency, location, living standards and education. The study recommends revisiting the paradigm of access to electrification and women empowerment by focusing on the quality of not only extensive but also intensive electrification to enhance life and economic opportunities for women and their households.

Keywords: electrification, socio-economic empowerment of women, India

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Electrification and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from Rural India


Samad, Hussain A., and Fan Zhang. 2019. “Electrification and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from Rural India.” Policy Research Working Papers, World Bank Group, Washington, D.C.

Authors: Hussain A. Samad, Fan Zhang


Electrification has been shown to accelerate opportunities for women by moving them into more productive activities, but whether improvements in economic outcomes also change gender norms and practices within the household remains unclear. This paper investigates the causal link between electricity access and women's empowerment, using a large gender-disaggregated data set on India. Empowerment is measured by women's decision-making ability, mobility, financial autonomy, reproductive freedom, and social participation. Using propensity score matching, the study finds that electrification enhances all measures of women's empowerment and is associated with an 11-percentage point increase in the overall empowerment index. Employment and education are identified as the two most important causal channels through which electrification enables empowerment.

Topics: Economies, Education, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2019

Assessing Gender Responsiveness of Forest Policies in India


Tyagi, Niharika, and Smriti Das. 2018. “Assessing Gender Responsiveness of Forest Policies in India”. Forest Policy and Economics 92: 160–68. 

Authors: Niharika Tyagi, Smriti Das


Gender Research spread over the last three decades in South Asia has positioned gender as an imperative in forest policy and practice. Policy attempts have been made to improve women's participation in forest governance at the local level. However, this has had insignificant effect on women's inclusion in forestry as it neglected the structural problems of power and inequity. This paper examines how forest policy has attended to gender concerns in India. It maps the gender trajectory within policy positions and identifies the gap in policy and research. It provides an analytical framework to analyse the Gender Responsiveness of forest policies. The framework helps classifying post-independence forest policies as Gender Blind, Gender Aware and Gender Responsive, based on the gender specific provisions. Analysis indicates that except for few provisions in the FRA, 2006, none of the forest policies appear to be categorically Gender Responsive. This could possibly be because of the limited engagement with structural issues; and, failure to design enabling institutions. Finally, our findings suggest that forest policies need to be grounded in a more nuanced understanding of gender relations and gender roles for sustainable socio-ecological outcomes.

Keywords: Forest policy, gender responsive, gender needs, content, discourse analysis

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2018

Women, Land, Embodiment: A Case of Postcolonial Ecofeminism


Jabeen, Neelam. 2020. “Women, Land, Embodiment: A Case of Postcolonial Ecofeminism.” International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 22 (8): 1095-109.

Author: Neelam Jabeen


In continuation of a previous essay about how Pakistani Anglophone literature intervenes into the mainstream ecofeminist paradigm, in this essay I show how South Asian literature – specifically, Pakistani and Indian fiction – challenges the mainstream ecofeminist assumption of a symbolic woman–nature (land) connection where terms like fertile, barren, seed, rape, womb, virgin, etc. are used for both women and land, symbolically feminizing land, and naturalizing women. I argue that this woman–land connection cannot be merely regarded as symbolic because in the post/colonial South Asian societies that the selected texts present, women’s bodies are actually treated as land, which in turn complicates the notion of women–land embodiment, allowing a deeper understanding of the cause of the twin oppression of women and land.

Keywords: embodiment, postcolonial ecofeminism, women-land/nature connection

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Pakistan

Year: 2020

Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis


Levien, Michael. 2017. “Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (6): 1111–34.  

Author: Michael Levien


This paper seeks to advance our understanding of the gendered implications of rural land dispossession. It does so through a comparative analysis of five cases of dispossession that were driven by different economic purposes in diverse agrarian contexts: the English enclosures; colonial and post-colonial rice irrigation projects in the Gambia; large dams in India; oil palm cultivation in Indonesia; and Special Economic Zones in India. The paper identifies some of the common gendered effects of land dispossession, showing in each case how this reproduced women’s lack of independent land rights or reversed them where they existed, intensified household reproductive work and occurred without meaningful consultation with—much less decision-making by—rural women. The paper also demonstrates ways in which the gendered consequences of land dispossession vary across forms of dispossession and agrarian milieu. The most important dimension of this variation is the effect of land loss on the gendered division of labour, which is often deleterious but varies qualitatively across the cases examined. In addition, the paper illustrates further variations within dispossessed populations as gender intersects with class, caste and other inequalities. The paper concludes that land dispossession consistently contributes to gender inequality, albeit in socially and historically specific ways. So while defensive struggles against land dispossession will not in themselves transform patriarchal social relations, they may be a pre-condition for more offensive struggles for gender equality.

Keywords: land grabs, gender, dispossession, displacement, enclosure

Topics: Agriculture, Caste, Class, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Households, Land Grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Gambia, India, Indonesia

Year: 2017

Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security? Intrahousehold Analysis of West Bengal’s Microplot Allocation Program


Santos, Florence, Diana Fletschner, Vivien Savath, and Amber Peterman. 2014. “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security? Intrahousehold Analysis of West Bengal’s Microplot Allocation Program.” World Development 64: 860–72.

Authors: Florence Santos, Diana Fletschner, Vivien Savath, Amber Peterman


This study evaluates the impact of India’s land-allocation and registration program in West Bengal, a program that targets poor populations and promotes the inclusion of women’s names on land titles. Although we are unable to detect statistically significant program effects on current household food security, we find that the program has positive impacts on a range of outcomes that are expected to lay the foundation for future food security including improved security of tenure, agricultural investments, and women’s involvement in food and agricultural decisions. Findings provide lessons in designing and implementing innovative and integrated approaches to reduce hunger and undernutrition.

Keywords: food security, gender, land rights, intrahousehold dynamics, West Bengal, India

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2014


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