Mountain Women, Dams, and the Gendered Dimensions of Environmental Protest in the Garhwal Himalaya


Drew, Georgina. 2014. “Mountain Women, Dams, and the Gendered Dimensions of Environmental Protest in the Garhwal Himalaya.” Mountain Research and Development 34 (3): 235–42. 

Author: Georgina Drew


Mountain women's resistance to inequitable development practice manifests itself in several ways; one of the most visible ways is their campaigning with social movements. The efforts to save the Ganges (Ganga) River from hydroelectric dams in the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttarakhand, India, are a case in point. Within these movements, men often take leadership roles, while women from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds form the base of participation at meetings, assemblies, and rallies. Based on ethnographic research from 2007–2010, this article explores the particularities of women's engagements with dam opposition efforts, their motivations for activism, and the degree to which their concerns for environment and development receive attention. Although women make extensive contributions, movement leaders often do not adequately represent the specifics of their development concerns, and this impacts the ability of policy-makers to respond to women's demands. This article shows mountain women's locations on multiple social and geographic peripheries and argues for more gender sensitivity and critical reflection in social movement campaigns and decision-making processes as a prerequisite for expanding the possibilities of gender-inclusive sustainable development.

Keywords: mountain women, dams, development, resistance, social movements, Garhwal Himalaya

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Infrastructure Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2014

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