Masculinities and Hydropower in India: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective

Citation:

Shrestha, Gitta, Deepa Joshi, and Floriane Clement. 2019. "Masculinities and Hydropower in India: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective." International Journal of the Commons 13 (1): 130-52.

Authors: Gitta Shrestha, Deepa Joshi, Floriane Clement

Abstract:

Mainstreaming gender in water governance through “how to do gender” toolkits has long been a development focus. It has been widely argued that such toolkits simplify the complex, nuanced realities of inequalities by gender in relation to water and fail to pay attention to the fact that the proposed users of such gender-water toolkits, i.e. mostly male water sector professionals, lack the skills, motivation and/or incentives to apply these toolkits in their everyday work. We adopt a feminist political ecology lens to analyse some of the barriers to reduce social inequalities in the management of global commons such as international rivers. Our findings highlight the leap of faith made in the belief that gender toolkits, as they exist, will filter through layers of a predominantly masculine institutional culture to enable change in ground realities of complex inequalities by gender. Analysing the everyday workings of two hydropower development organisations in India, we show how organisational structures demonstrate a blatant culture of masculinity. These two organisations, like many others, are sites where hierarchies and inequalities based on gender are produced, performed and reproduced. This performance of masculinity promotes and rewards a culture of technical pride in re-shaping nature, abiding by and maintaining hierarchy and demonstrating physical strength and emotional hardiness. In such a setting, paying attention to vulnerabilities, inequalities and disparities are incompatible objectives.

Keywords: feminist political ecology, gender, global commons, hydropower, masculinities, India

Topics: Development, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Political Economies Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2019

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.