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Kerala Devt- a fem.perspective

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									Kerala’s Development-
a feminist perspective

    Workshop Report

   March 23rd, 24th and 25th , 2004

          Organized by

Sakhi resource center for Women


     Science and Technology Museum Hall,
          PMG Junction, Trivandrum

       Kerala’s Development- a feminist perspective

                      Workshop :March 23rd, 24th and 25th ,2004



The workshop on Kerala‘s Development – a feminist perspective was conducted from
23rd to 26th March, 2004. Representatives from different NGO‘s, women‘s groups,
academic institutions and people‘s movements participated in the workshop.

Aleyamma Vijayan, Director, Sakhi welcomed the gathering and outlined the objectives
of the workshop. This workshop is organized with a view to assessing Kerala‘s
development from a feminist perspective and through this process intends to evolve
perspectives for future programmes.

The word ―development‖ brings to our mind diverse meanings. For many, development
means destruction of their livelihoods, environment and so on. The development path
which the state has followed is one which did not, in any way sustain life or livelihood. In
Kerala, at this point of time, we are experiencing the result of such a development
process – the drought and consequent destruction of crops, farmers committing suicide
etc. When such issues were raised 10 – 15 years back, we were called anti
development groups but the same people are now forced to rethink their positions.

Is there a gender perspective on development? Do we need one? Such questions are
relevant here. On March 8th, International Women‘s Day, we had a poster exhibition on
―women and water” at the secretariat.. A young women journalist was surprised that a
feminist organization had taken up such an issue and not the so called women‘s issues
of violence, dowry and sexuality. The commonly held perception is that women‘s
organizations are concerned only about women specific issues. But women are also
citizens of this state, of this country and every single issue is a women‘s issue. There is
a feminist perspective and approach to each and every issue. Of all movements of our
times the women‘s movement is the most inclusive. Women are now active in peace
movements, anti nuclear movements, against big dams and so on.

It is women who are most affected by the globalized economic policies and development
approaches. For quick profits, aggressive and over efficient ways of ‗exploitation‘ of
nature and its resources are pursued. The immediate and best example is the coco-cola
plant at Plachimada. In a short time, an entire region was destroyed and the local people
were deprived of their life and livelihood just to make profits for a multi national
company. We have several such examples in Kerala. Nationally too we can find similar

examples. Along with all this, militarization and sale of arms too is increasing. We are
witnessing the masculine paradigms of development i.e. an aggressive destructive
paradigms of development. We do not appreciate life styles that sustain livelihoods. But
in the days to come, we will have only those people who are in the so called subsisting
economy to depend for water, pure air and healthy food.

Another side of this destructive development is the polarization on the basis of religion.
Again we are trying to suppress diversity and ‗homogenize‘ everything – culture, values

Let us examine specific context of Kerala with all this as background. Even now,
nationally and internationally Kerala is still a ‗model of development‘ – there is such a
myth around this idea. But those of us who live in Kerala know very well about the un-
sustainablity of this model. We are facing the reality of high rates of unemployment,
migration, suicides, consumerism, high dowry, increasing violence against women,
rampant destruction of environment, lack of food security, high alcoholic consumption
and so on. We have a responsibility to analyze why in spite of all the positive indicators
such things happen? We have to analyze development strategies based on a different
perspective that values life and livelihoods

What is the feminist perspective of development? Don‘t we need to question the
approach of integrating women into development? When a capitalist development path
is aggressively pursued, will it be possible to eradicate poverty through micro –
financing? What is the use of the small loans that women get when on one side the
government is selling off our water and other natural resources to multinational
companies, and privatizing our common resources like sea and forests, The
mushrooming of self-help group is a phenomenon in Kerala, as it is else where in India.
It may have brought women out of their homes into the public realm. But is it enhancing
their self-image? Does it increase their access to and control of the resources that will
help in their livelihood and provide them employment? The high literacy levels have not
helped us. It has only ‗domesticated‘ women. We have to carefully examine whether a
similar process of ‗domestication‘ is going to happen through SHG‘s. Are these women
going to be ‗tools‘ for political parties during election? What are the deep implications of
this so-called revolution? How do we see the linkages between capitalism and

It is very important that we also think of alternatives. How do we retain control of our
resources? How do we develop and broaden a perspective, which respects diversity of
nature, life and faith? I hope these thoughts and concerns will be uppermost in the
deliberations in the coming days of the workshop.

The Key note address

Session 1

Gender and Development in Kerala – Which way forward?

                                                      Dr.Gita Sen.

At the outset Dr.Gita Sen expressed her happiness to be back in Kerala where
she had spent almost 10 years (in 80’s) at Center for Development studies. She
said she had learned a great deal about development from that time in
Trivandrum, but little about gender in a socially developed and advanced society.
Ideas from those times have continued to fuel her own understanding of the
relationships between Gender and development. Thinking about feminism and
links between Gender and Development has in fact become much stronger in
Kerala now than it was during years when she was here. And this workshop
organized by Sakhi on Kerala’s development from a feminist perspective is very
much an evidence and indication of that, she said

Kerala, and its development concerns are and have been of interest since the
70‘s- because it was in the middle 1970 that people became              aware of
development paradox-how to combine social development with economic growth.
It can be said that two questions evolved from the 1970‘s in the Kerala‘s context
which have been important, not only for Kerala but for larger development
debates. The questions are
     How to combine social development with economic growth and poverty
     How to combine social development and growth with gender equality.
Both these sets of questions are extremely important in the larger context beyond
Kerala itself in connection with the development debate. The connection between
these three things is important. Development paradox and gender paradox are
typically viewed as distinct because those who talk about development paradox
hardly ever mention gender paradox and people who talk about gender paradox
do speak about the development issues but there are still matters that needs to
be raised to get the connections between these. Do they really interact with each
other? Are they in the sense of parallel tracks that one can just consider as
unrelated things and very importantly for the present historical times, historical
movement in Kerala, what does it say about the future and what potential is

We know that all attention to the development paradox in Kerala began actually
with middle 1970‘s. Attention to Kerala as a model for social development was
drawing from the early Center for development studies (CDS) and a lot of
literature and research that followed thereafter which pointed to the fact that in a
relatively low per capita income and relatively slow economic growth context, it
had been possible in Kerala to achieve levels and indicators for health, for
education, fertility decline and so on; which were in many instances superior to
similar indicators for countries with much higher levels of income. This evidence
then seem to point in the direction that rapid economic growth is not necessary
for strong social development to take place. Strong social development
performance can occur even with out rapid economic growth and Kerala seemed
point very much in that direction.

This middle 1970‘s work by CDS is then of course picked by people like Amartya
Sen. and then in the global contexts the human development reports and so on.
When different pattern for social development indicators and human welfare
indicators are studied it is seen that there are two different paths of growth
focused development – one factor primarily focusing on economic growth and the
other being structural adjustment programmes of the Bretton Wood institutions of
the 1980‘s. The Sen‘s thesis on the basis of human development report put
emphasis on social development being the focus of the state policy and not
relying on a trickled down effect for economic growth would be extremely
important for human welfare. And in that context Sen. and others picked up
Kerala as a big example of that and also a number of other countries. Sri Lanka
was one, Costa Rica was another Mauritius was yet another and a number of
others that has been enumerated and looked at in this context. It was difficult to
raise questions about what did this model mean for gender and for gender
equality at that time.

By the latter part of the 1980‘s and certainly continuing in to the 1990s‘there was
a growing recognition that this development paradox really did need to be
addressed. It is not possible any longer to pretend that it was not a problem. High
rates of economic growth may not be necessary for strong social development;
but strong social development by itself does not necessarily lead to high growth
performance or to sustain poverty eradication. That is where the debate about
the development paradox came up. Where it is going? How far it is sustainable?
Not only this but also that poor economic growth performance can constrain what
you can do with social development. That social development becomes un-
sustainable with out economic growth over time and it certainly limits whatever
further improvements may be possible. That is you can not just focus on one leg
and leave the other leg half functional because you may actually slide back in
terms of even that one leg that you tried to stand up .It may not be sustainable
and it certainly will be very difficult to move it forward because the bulk of your
state budget is already going to the teacher‘s salaries and welfare provisions.

This leaves very little room for moving forward, making additional changes

The third implication of the development paradox is at high social development
indicators unmatched by growth performance may limit the state‘s capacities to
promote growth itself. So strong social development by itself does not lead to
high economic growth, secondly poor economic growth may limit whatever social
development you have achieved and whatever future social development you
think is necessary

Thirdly high social development can actually limit the further capacity for poverty
eradication and growth. This is because the focus is on social development with
out adequate attention to the issues of economic growth and there is the inability
to use the resources effectively by paying sufficient attention to the requirements-
inability because you are not paying attention to the requirements and
possibilities of economic growth itself. There is no attention being paid to the
possibilities created by the social development itself and the resources thus
created. For example, Kerala is relatively slow in recognizing the potentials of a
relatively highly educated labor force beyond sending them out as migrants.
Another example may be really to recognize or to take advantage of the fact that
Kerala is one of India‘s major places of Ayurveda, which is becoming a major
global industry in the context of biotechnology. So the inability to see Kerala’s
own resources, potentials, possibilities as well as the risks of not paying attention
to the situations comes from an approach which does not sufficiently pay
attention to the problems of economic growth.

 Now this was the nature of development paradox as it is brought out and
debated so far. How do we see this in the international context? . These
problems of so-called development paradox are not unique to Kerala. Other
countries have faced similar problems and have come up with different ways of
resolving those problems and it is in that context that we need to look at where
Kerala stands today and how it is likely to move forward.
And there are three countries that I want to highlight little bit; one very large
country and two quite small ones, which are size wise not that different from
Kerala. The most important country in which the development paradox has
emerged in the last couple of decades is China itself. China during the Mao‘s
period, in fact had all of the elements in it that we would think of as associated
with the social development first path.

 A second example is the example of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka and Kerala has been
spoken about almost in the same way many times in these discussion on the
social development model. A third one is Mauritius. It is again like Kerala; there
was lot of attention to social developments as Kerala and Sri Lanka has done but
certainly has taken slightly different approach from both of these. How did each

of these countries experience the development paradox and how has it handled
them? And in this context we also to understand the implications for gender; of
the way in which the development paradox is experienced and addressed in
each of these situations.

In terms of the elements of development paradox present in China in 1979, when
it embarked on its liberalization reforms it is in very similar ways. This is a large
economy that during the Mao‘s period had really almost done away with the
institutional private property. It had paid significant attention to improving health
and education -from the bare foot doctors to ensuring that everybody went to
school and did so with the strong equality focus which is very important .It is as
well during that Mao's period the call to gender–equality was made. A range of
direct and indirect methods were developed which had an impact on improving
the institutions that supported movements towards gender equality. A work point
system in agriculture was developed which gave importance to everybody‘s
work. It gave significant importance to the work that women did on farms and in
agriculture collectives, so that women‘s work got valued which was very different
from the UN-systems of satellite accounts. But it is certainly important in making
women themselves valued as workers, valued as contributing to collective work
points and valued
Therefore as making it possible for the collective to gain more from the larger
system-ability to access depended upon how much women were putting in as
much as men. This of course have a very important indication as well for the
kind of son preference during the Mao's period in China. There is no doubt that
the son preference which in China has as long a bitterer history as it is had in
most of India and particularly in North India and in number of other parts of Asia
really did go down during this period. Because girls and women were as valued
for their contribution and this was important at the local levels and then at the
regional and national levels. . This of course was a period when the Chinese
popular family planning programmes was very much in the old Marxist anti
Malthusian law, which regarded population as non-problematic. So they did not
provide much for family planning services. Then coming out of weakness of this
period, you had the craziness of this one child policy. But this one child policy in
China is not really the reason for the decline in Chinas‘ fertility. Already the paces
in social development had been laid .So by the time better family planning
services were provided, the demand was already there, and people started using
them. Despite of all these advances and despite Mao‘s attempts during the
Cultural Revolution to deal with the limitations, this approach had significant
limits, which began to be felt in the economy. First of all it was important that
although agriculture was productive, there were constraints emerging on food
security that had to be met. Secondly rural and urban insipient migration because
of unemployment and under employment was significant and growing
underemployment in rural areas was like a bomb waiting to explode. There was
very strong and draconian policy about migration from the rural areas during that
period. But it was clear that there was more and more people to work who did
not had very much to do in the rural areas. By the middle seventies you could

see all these problems in China like the importance of maintaining the rural urban
transfer of surplus, maintaining the political stability etc. Going beyond the
ideological issues of socialism and Communism, there was some deeper issues
having to do with the constraint of a particular approach to development, which in
fact China was beginning to feel at that time and which certainly lay behind the
possibilities of the revolution or the counter revolution.

Here we are not looking at the implication of the debate on ideology but the
question is what kind of meaning does it have for the links between the
development and growth. Economic reforms in China took a particular path,
which linked China in a strong way into the globalized economy.
 At the same time this created inequalities, corruption and political
disenchantment with in China itself. Gender inequality rose in a significant way
not because of son preference but because now the woman‘s work no longer got
valued which in turn lead to a non-preference for girl children. So the reversal of
what has been done during the Mao‘s period in terms of reducing some
preference actually took place during this period, which of course surfaced, in the
worsening sex ratios that China also had seen during the period after the Deng
siao ping‘s reforms. Many observers claim that in spite of all of these China is
relatively politically stable. The group behind Tianmen square uprising was a
small group and there is no huge support for, against or in favor of the direction
that has been pushed at that time in the countryside.

Women played a significant role in these reforms. Due to the rise of new
economic zones, which were, the basis of China‘s economic growth the entire
Shangai area went to very rapid economic growth in which the modern industrial
work played a dominant role. The women formed the dominant part of Chinese
modern industrial work force that lies behind China‘s very dramatic performance
in terms of economic growth. So growing gender inequality combined with
economic changes drew women more and more into a labor force and connected
to the globalised market economy in which China has become so very
successful. China is now called as the workshop of the world because of Chinas‘
performance and because of the cheapness of Chinese labor force and because
of the conditions under which they work. Bad working conditions, horrendous
working hours, lack of safety and all other things we know are associated with
this kind of work. So China took a particular approach to deal with its
development paradox.

Sri Lanka is small; it has an economy that is small and there fore a little bit more
variety than the Kerala economy. Here however migration has largely been taken
the form of female migration. The Sri Lankan development paradox was
experienced almost about the same time as the paradox has been experienced
in China, and also in Kerala. The Sri Lankan ‗reforms‘ also are around the same
period as the Chinese reforms (1977-.79). It was during this time that Sri Lanka

started going back on its social development primarily approach, and moving
towards linking up with the global economy. Sri Lanka‘s linking up with the global
economy was by setting up special economic Zones and so on; and this of
course China had also done, but also female migration on a very large scale.

Women working out side Sri-Lanka contributed nearly 1.2 billion dollars, which
amounts to a huge proportion of foreign exchange. These women go primarily as
domestic workers, under difficult working conditions, great deal of abuse, sexual
exploitation and violence. Women‘s work has been Sri Lanka‘s safety valve to
prevent the development paradox in Sri Lanka from exploding. But the Sri
Lankan reforms like the Chinese reforms had similar implications in terms of
growing inequality including gender inequality. Sri Lanka tries to address
problems and manages at least to keep themselves from becoming a total
disaster area through inflow of money from outside.

The third example is Mauritius, which has a small economy again but relatively
few resources. This country also made links to Globalization. But the methods
adopted by them were neither like China nor like Sri Lanka. But they did through
integration into financial markets- making itself into major financial transfer and
resource center. So the jobs that got created again were heavily for women but
not exclusively for women. These are women now who are working in the banks
and in the financial companies, in the insurance industries-whole lot of those kind
of modern service sector employment as well as again in the export process; in
services, garments and so on. But Mauritius on this point is not really a favored
place for the garment industries, for it is too expensive. That means labor cause
is too higher for Mauritius than in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, and so on

On observing these three countries and comparing them to Kerala‘s
Development paradox there are some basic similarities as well as differences. It
is seen that social development by itself cannot sustain, as by itself it is not
immediately productive. Health and education do not produce goods and
commodities other than the services. Two important factors evolving out of these
are - from where does the transfer of social surplus arrive from? How will jobs be
created? These two factors are crucial for sustainability and reduction of poverty.
But how can sustainable eradication of poverty be combined with social
development? What will happen to gender and gender equality? What will
happen to the gains that women have made during the period when focus is on
social development. Are those gains lost? Is it a temporary loss or is it a
completely different trajectory? Is the rise of gender inequality in China, in Sri
Lanka and so on during this period, something that they can reverse, or is it
something that is now set for another direction

If we look at the post migration policies in SriLanka concerning women migrants
coming back with remittances, one can see how they were perceived by the
bankers and other policy makers. What was very striking was that the language
used. All the language was about how do we capture these women migrants and

their resources and in the process there was no language of empowerment; no
language of recognition of what the women had done. . The banker‘s had the
usual attitude of ‗how can we give loans to these women who do not have any
background as entrepreneurs‘? . It is surprising because one is talking about
women who have gone of by themselves, crossing the seas, working as
domestic workers and migrants for years. Some of them had gone several times.
In fact many of them go not just once but again and again. And the bankers are
telling that they don‘t have a capacity to open a bank account, and to run an
enterprise. By now in South Asia, we know at least that it is possible to lend to
women and to get back money back even if capture all your interest in. The
development paradox is being spoken about as if women are that some numbers
that you feed in, and not in fact people who are themselves very much central to
what is going on and what is possible for the kind of change that may or may not
happen, the kind of change that may or may not be possible.

 We need to understand about the gender paradox in it. There are different
ways, different elements of paradox which are quite interesting. One-way in
which it has been defined is high social development including for women but
poor economic indicators- whether it is land rights or jobs, the quantity of jobs,
the quality of jobs, working conditions etc. Women are educated and have some
better health access in many other parts of the country but still they have to work
pretty difficult kinds of occupations. . So one way of thinking about Gender
paradox is high social development for women, but poor economic indicators.

Another way of thinking about Gender paradox is high social development, which
is not translated into greater political agency for women. This can be observed in
some of the studies of Monica Erwer from Gothenburg who recently completed
her thesis looking at political development and political agency and engagement
of women in Kerala‘s political causes. Even when women are so literate and
articulate, their capacity to participate and to remove the constrains on their
participation in the political process is still so limited.

And yet another way of thinking about Gender paradox is once again high social
development but poor or worsening of indicators of autonomy and agency in
social and cultural terms. So all of the discussions about the growing violence
against women, problems around sexuality, the absence of improvements in
terms of gender hierarchy within households and families, the continuing strong
patriarchal authorities with in families, can in fact be seen from all of these
different dimensions. So there is high social development on one side, but if you
are looking at economic issues, looking at political agency, and participation
issues or at agency, autonomy and issues of sexuality and violence with in the
home and outside you find that the gender paradox really exists.

And I wanted to add a fourth dimension to the gender paradox, to the three areas
mentioned already. That is based on how we think about the development

paradox and the way in which different countries have tried to resolve it. Kerala
has still not resolved or attempted to move in the direction where it is resolving its
development paradox and hence this issue has not become sharp as yet. But I
think the potential for this to sharpen in a context where gender and the
implications of gender are not adequately addressed is quite serious. So women
may become and could be central to employment, to jobs, to migration, of IT
enabled services, or moves in other directions using the cheapness of the female
labor force. If policy moves in that direction and if you do not recognize the
gender equality or inequality equations of that, and you do not protect the social
development gains that you already made, you may start seeing other elements
of gender paradox beginning to work. What it means is that, not only is women‘s
role in these context not recognized; But also their role in reproduction and in the
so called care economy (the work that is done to fetch water, to take care of
children, to take care of old people, to cook, to manage all the house hold
matters) that is not recognized but women’s centrality in production itself during
the growth recovery in these countries is not recognized either. Hence we have
two kinds of non-recognition that exists. The double and triple burdens of the
work for women.

In the present historical moment in Kerala, with women bearing a major burden
of poverty eradication (SHG‘s) and with the increasing inequality, coping with the
triple burden is seen as a private matter. Secondly the policy requirements for
making the new growth mechanisms work more effectively and to protect the
social developments gains that has been made as sort of leap forward into
connecting up with the globalization, those protections and safeguards are not
kept in place. And thirdly and most damaging in all of these situations is some
thing that happens in the minds and mind sets of social activists, policy makers
and every body which is that advances in social development and gender
equality come to be seen as causes. They are seen as causes. rather than as
being the basis from which the growth is happening. They come to be seen, as
there is a trade
 Off between these sects. Rather than seeing that there is a synergy that these
actually work together. It is a big question as to how much gender in- equality are
people willing to take in order to promote better growth. Will they argue for
improvement in working conditions if that will kill the goose that lay golden eggs?
And this mindset then becomes one from which it is very difficult for anybody to
move forward.

Regarding Kerala‘s developments there are choices. There is a high road of
development where it is possible to have growth with poverty reduction through
job creation, reduced in-equality including gender in-equality and sustainable
social development. The possibility of success of this growth depends on the
kinds of jobs one creates. It also depends upon making, strengthening and
improving policies based on gender equality for social developments. Sri Lanka
has not done very well in this path, by way of growth. It is seen that in this path

there is growing inequality, worsening gender indicators, and the potential for
worsening social development.

It was concluded that at this point Kerala is really at the development crossroads.
It has stayed over a decade there already and it is also possible to stay on the
development cross road without moving for a long time, provided there is the
cushion that has been bestowed to Kerala by a larger secular democratic polity.
But now that cushion has been quite dramatically destroyed and eroded. In this
context when you have those kinds of destructive forces at work, you can not
have un employment and under employment of this type continuing Such forces
are already at work and are able to recruit and train youth; they are expanding
and an entirely different situations altogether may develop.

When we look at Kerala‘s development one of the miseries is that its past
lessons from social developments have not really been translated very well to the
rest of the countries. But the question for both its policy makers and social
activists is whether Kerala can actually provide a way of moving forward into the

Discussion based on the Session

Before the discussion began Ms. Sarada Muralidharan spoke on the context of
decentralization that has taken place in Kerala and the contradictions in the so called
positive indices of development. Advances in the field of health and education for
women are shown as the causes of the positive gains of Kerala. Being healthy has
become an invasive and expensive option for women in Kerala. There is a high rate of
Caesarians and the invasive contraceptive choices have an impact on gender we also
have to note that education has domesticated women in Kerala. If we look at other
states where women have not been given the elixir of education it is seen that these
women are much more forthright, more assertive and independent than those who are
educated. This also gives an interesting angle to the debate on gender paradox and the
direction it is going. It also leads to the whole issue of ability to push the economic
growth in a sustainable way. In Kerala, the kind of economic growth has led to large-
scale migration (implications on women are phenomenal) and marginalization

The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments have created a space for women. The
public space, which has been thrown open for women, has many implications. It is
debatable whether the women are able to take advantage of this opportunity and fight
the forces that are keeping them from taking this opportunity. There is also a space,
which has been necessarily created through panchayati raj, which gives the concept of
accountability, transparency and creation of community structures, which are actively
involved in development. Moreover when talking about the space it is very crucial and
important to include a much poor, maligned and harassed grama sabhas in the
empowerment debate that specially work at the local levels.

There was a query as to what extent cans the talk about sustainable growth? Can the
notion of growth, as it exists today lead to sustainability? In pursuit of growth inequalities
(whether it be between poor and rich or gender based inequalities) are increasing. How
is this type of growth beneficial? How can it be made more gender aware?

There was a debate as to whether there is specifically a thing called sustainable growth
or is it just about sustainable livelihood, which is really what is essential. But then it is not
a mythical age where everybody lives in sustainable harmony. Most resources have
already been privatized and the pressures and degradation on these resources are so
severe that redistribution by itself is not possible in India for a long time. It may be
possible to redistribute land in other countries like Brazil and have enough for every
household to sustain by it and produce its livelihood. But no amount of redistribution of
land by itself in India will give agricultural households enough land that they can actually
make a living out of that. Therefore it has been concluded that only some kind of
economic growth is possible. Growth is essential for eradication of poverty. It is
necessary to analyze the kind of growth that is essential for different situations. One of
the serious damages done in the 1980‘s by the World Bank monitoring this growth was
that they let the people believe that economic growth is possible only by the method
that they have described. But economists believe that it is possible to have an economic
growth at a place where you do build in, support in and put in not just safe guards for
environment and resources but also social policies that will actually promote people‘s
participation in the development process. This is one direction in which progress can
grow. This does not mean that there is no growth at all because reduction of inequality
and better redistribution is essential but not enough as this is not going to remove
poverty by itself. Therefore we need to look at what kinds of growth will support and
promote people; protect and promote gender equality; will not hold on to the gains from
the social development but help them to move forward.

The discussion on decentralized planning pointed to the elements in the people‘s
campaign that will help people to move forward. The positive gender effects in the social
development of Kerala were actually accidental and not intended or planned. In the
decentralized planning, it is possible to include gender analysis and processes.

Even here, the gender sensitive approaches that have been attempted out of the
people‘s campaign plan have not been the result of any pressures from below. What
generates policy intervention is a crucial question? Policy intervention does not come out
of its own. Bureaucrats have to be compelled and pushed to make gender based
reforms because they will encourage these reforms only if there is some kind of long-
term benefits in the equation. The crucial question is how to create this kind of
environment? . Gender advocacy movements can create it. Gender advocacy
movements have taken two directions; one is a head on approach – i.e. issues like
domestic violence against women or issues of marginalization, exploitation etc are
confronted directly because it is also about redistribution of power, opportunity and
space. Therefore there arises a problem of giving away resources or power of authority
or accepting change, which would be for at least a temporary period.

Another strategy is like in the people‘s plan campaign an attempt to form an economic
agenda for women, which resulted in forming neighborhood groups and Kudumbasree.
The second consideration has been to take issues like education and health, which was
not immediately seen, as confrontational but which points out to challenges in existing
power structures and domains. In terms of macro economic policy, this has to come from

certain kinds of interventions and efforts. These efforts would be people‘s movements. It
could also be something that takes advantage of processes that are already there and
which can be developed into something a lot more powerful and sensitive. What is
important is to get he state accountable. This can be done through political process and
community based processes. Gender based advocacy programmes have the scope for
being very inclusive, for taking a lot of opposite and conflicting interests which perhaps
similar empowerment processes did not have in the past. Looking at the SC/ST
advocacy scenario a certain amount of marginalisaton is seen in the context. But they
have not been able to move from the agenda of Dalit to the agenda of community and
society at large. It is a danger which gender advocacy can also fall into but at the same
time it is also an opportunity for gender because it is not so rigidly or limitedly defined.
But again question arises as to where these spaces can be found, bridged and taken
forward so that at the policy level they can be accommodated.

One more crucial comment was added to the above discussion. Women‘s organization
and people working with them have found it typically very hard work. It is a fact that in
the matter of policies in the micro level there is a limit because what is done at the micro
level can wipe what out is done at the macro level. So women‘s organizations have to be
completely engaged in these macro- processes too. The discussions on Kerala‘s growth
and development happen in spaces where hardly any women are present. As was
mentioned earlier, things don‘t happen in the government unless there is a push from
below and even then spaces do not open up for discussion. It is difficult for women to
engage in these spaces because they feel more comfortable dealing with micro
processes, health and development issues. These spaces go beyond the discussions on
health and development issues and into economics, planning, management etc.

Reflecting on all this there arises a question as to which way Kerala‘s Development
strategies are going and what do women have to say about that. The project that women
have is beyond identity politics. It is not only the matter of inequality as far as women are
concerned within existing paradigms but it is also the entire trajectory builds on
inequality which can be bad for everybody. As mentioned before, challenges and spaces
need to be put forward but at the same time one needs to be clear as to what is being
done and about the alternatives that is being suggested. It is really a very tough decision
for a women‘s organization because most of these issues are outside a women‘s
experience; most of the women are not economist and most of them even do not know
what is going on in the budgeting. But it is a challenge for a women‘s organization to
hear what women have to say with regard to the development process.

It was also pointed out that the two major coalition fronts of political parties that rule
Kerala had the same opinion in the matter of development. Their definition of
development consists of building roads, flyovers, railways etc. In our country big
constructions and extravagant and lavish expenditure on ceremonies are considered as
a part of development and advancement of country. It was also seen that government
encourages young people to migrate and find employment in various fields but if
something happens to them the government washes its hands off. For example, if they
die there then it takes a long time for the dead to be transferred to our country. Another
point raised was about self-employment. Government created opportunities for the
women in door-to-door sales of different products but the working conditions of these
sales women were very bad. Will all these become part of the thinking on development?

Another point raised was regarding the impact of such thinking on children. Children are
the product of his/ her environment i.e he/she is very much dependent on the culture,
education and the media to which they are exposed to. These three things become
important for the growth of a child in the society. As the child grows into a man or woman
they acquire the existing notions of masculinity and femininity through the above-
mentioned institutions. Taking these perspectives how can we talk about fundamental
changes in the process of development? When we look at the development process we
should also consider the inter-milieu of the political churnings currently happening in the
state and also larger globalization, which is not helping us in these development

Whenever Kerala‘s development process is debated, three main points emerge. One is
unsustainability of the development process it leads to fiscal crisis and corresponding
problems in the second generation. Due to this reason this process has no constancy.
Secondly this sort of model is by itself inefficient and corrupt. That is why it is bound to
be unsustainable. In the present context of globalization welfare oriented model is
unable to continue in its attempt to promote equality and social justice. Keeping all this
conditions in mind, how is it possible to move forward the discussions related to equality
and gender justice?

One of the comments from the group was that it is not just indicators for development
that matters but actually the process of development itself. When we talk about
improved social development indicators the question arises whether we had any focused
intervention or policy for this purpose? For example. In order to achieve a reduction in
infant mortality rate did we have any specific programme or did we really formulate any
policies in order to achieve that? When we look into the process we have to look into the
history also. In the context of political initiatives, many a times the governments in power
never considered these questions. For example, at present we have lot of initiatives on
modernizing government programmes but it has nothing to do with the political system in

As far as gender and its implications in the social development process of Kerala is
concerned, these are the bye products. Kerala is fortunate because of a combination of
prior systems and traditional progressive politics. Social development policies just
happened because there were conscious policies giving support towards health and
education. These conscious policies came into being through social movements.

Is it was possible to eradicate poverty without addressing daily lives of ordinary people
and their livelihood. Kerala had basically an agricultural economy and women had a
major role in this economy. Is it possible to talk about development paradigm without
addressing the traditional roles and economic sustenance of women? As mentioned
earlier, in the whole restructuring and functioning of the public arena with private capital,
what is role of women? Is there a tool to analyze the whole framework of economic
growth, sustenance and women‘s empowerment with regard to private capital where
women are really present with the new questions of empowerment that is happening
when women are coming into power and legislature?

It was observed that with the globalization there is a set back to the social development.
Health and education systems are getting privatized. Due to poverty, women are moving
into working in the unorganized sector; in home nursing, domestic work etc. Therefore
when poverty is worsening there will be less interference from people in macro level
policies. In today‘s political realm there is no space for women‘s issues. Given these
political process women‘s organization has relevance only if they involve in the macro
level policies.

Dr. Gita Sen concluded the session by making a few observations. She said that one of
the things we face in terms of macro economics is the fact that with the collapse of the
Soviet Union there has been such a major challenge to the whole socialist paradigm
from which nobody has recovered. The fact is that Soviet Union was considered as a
model for socialism. But whatever the challenge was, the presence of a multi polar world
and alternative directives made that possible. In terms of alternatives there are people‘s
experiences, oppositions and ways of identifying the places and locations where they
meet in order to make sure that it isn‘t just completely wiped out. This constantly creates
a difficult terrain for the people. But it becomes important to recognize that there are
places where people can move forward. It is not true that policy makers or bureaucrats
just mindlessly follow everything that is being created by the World Bank or the IMF, as
they are constantly doing social experimentation. The best example is the
experimentation in the power sector reforms in Orissa, which led to a big disaster.
Anyway these International institutions are continuing their experimentation process, as
there is no opposition of any kind to tell them to modify or moderate the reforms that they
have done. So the presence of informed opposition, presence of informed challenge is
absolutely crucial because it is not as if different ways are not been experimented
constantly. Taking the example of DPEP (District primary education programme) it was
said that in some states of the country experimentation was allowed which showed a
much more positive result. Therefore the people need to be involved and engaged
Spaces are created by oneself through the process of engagement.

In Kerala the people who are talking about people‘s participation in planning process do
not speak about those issues of violence and sexuality, which are major challenges.
Without addressing the questions of violence, sexuality and inequality with in the
household, we cannot speak of development. As women we have the responsibility to;
bring both these issues to the forefront and see the connections between these two
issues. The question arises as to how much autonomy is there? During the 1980‘s
gender was a forbidden subject particularly in Kerala; but a decade have seen a
dramatic change So we can say that the process of engagement can change it. So today
intervening and speaking about the macro economic issues may be hard and difficult.
But once we are involved or engaged they are forced to take account all the issues and
respond in a progressive way.

Sarada Muraleedharan concluded the session by mentioning the Modernizing
Government Programme. Gender is mentioned as a cross cutting thing in talks going on
implications is seen through a gender lens even though it is a convoluted frame.

The question is whether it is possible to make a collective voice of women out of the
political space that are occupied in the panchayath raj system; in the political
organizations; in SHG‘s, Kudumbashree etc and give it a direction, which encompasses
everything. It is relevant to develop strategies for establishing political structures sit up,
and take notice and incorporate gender issues in their agenda.

Session 2

The post lunch session started with a warm welcome and a brief introduction
given to the chairperson Dr.Saradamoni, the facilitators Dr.Mridul Eapen &
Dr.Praveena Kodoth.

Paper: Discrimination against Women in Kerala: Engaging Indicators and
Processes of Well Being: Dr. Praveena Kodoth & Dr.Mridul Eapen

Admittedly, in order to engage with gender based discrimination it is necessary to
go beyond the conventional indicators of well being – education, health and
employment – to hitherto less examined sites such as mental health, crime
against women, political participation or property rights (Sonpar and Kapur 2001,
Mukhopadyay and Sudarshan ed. 2003). It is equally imperative however to re-
engage the conventional indicators by raising new questions about them, both
separately about each indicator and about the ways they combine to reflect
extant gendered priorities. This is particularly relevant in the context of Kerala,
known for reasonably impressive levels of human development, conventionally
measured, across genders. Indeed GDI estimated at the regional level by several
scholars‘ places Kerala at the top. In respect of GEM too, which attempts to
measure empowerment or autonomy in terms of the extent to which women are
able to use their basic capabilities to acquire decision making powers, both
economically and politically, Kerala is at or near the top (Mehta 1996, EPW
1996). Yet it is significant that on more direct measures of autonomy, including
household decision-making, mobility and access to/control over money, Kerala
trailed Gujarat, which had much lower levels of literacy (Visaria 1994, Rajan et al
1994). Indeed, the second National Family Health Survey, 1998-99, which
incorporated similar measures of autonomy for ever-married women for the first
time for 25 states, also revealed that Kerala trailed Gujarat and a number of other
states (including Tamil Nadu, Goa and the North-eastern states) (Table 1). Over
time, findings of this nature brought into question the much glorified,
straightforward relation between literacy and women's autonomy. In this light,
the need to locate women's educational attainment and access to other
resources within the extant patriarchal social structures, specifically the family,
was emphatically advocated (Jeffrey and Basu 1994, Heward and Bunwaree

Kerala has been considered relatively free from the conventional inhibitions
against women‘s education and employment, or women owning property. This
has been associated with matrilineal forms of family, which placed fewer
restraints against women's inheritance rights on the one hand and early twentieth
century social reforms which widened access to education across genders on the
other. However social and legal reforms were instrumental in sanctioning a new

form of marriage, grounded in modern patriarchal relations. An important part of
this process was the abolition of matriliny and strengthening of patriarchy among
patrilineal social groups.      Today this is reflected in a generalized social
commitment to women‘s domesticity in the state. For women its implications are
evident in their poor occupational profile despite impressive levels of education,
decline in property rights and the rise in dowry and other crimes against women.

At the level of an index, high scores on education and health among 15 states of
India (ranking Kerala first) have masked women's poor employment profile. The
state ranked 10 or 15 according to different measures of income shares based
on gender work participation rates and wage rates (Seeta Prabhu et al 1996).
High rates of literacy and impressive levels of female education did not translate
into rapid growth of paid employment for women nor into upward occupational
mobility.1 On the other hand the state was witnessing downtrends in women‘s
property rights, growing levels of gender based violence, particularly domestic
violence, and rapid growth and spread of dowry and related crime even while the
levels of education continued to rise. We argue that in fact the non conventional
indicators are closely related to the conventional: (a) Women‘s exposure to
education, extremely high levels of female unemployment and tremendous
emphasis on women to be married contribute to increased family tension and
domestic conflict. This has been observed particularly in situations when
educated women marry less educated men with good jobs, which are on the
increase in Kerala (Rajan et al 1994). The most common cause of psychological
stress among women who are educated is the lack of employment and the roles
they are expected to assume after marriage (Halliburton, 1998). Are these
simply an indication that patriarchal codes are being resisted? There are
definitive signs that women are less willing or less able to comply with male
expectations -- disobedience being a frequently cited reason for wife beating. At
the social level, the emphasis on getting girls married and the widespread resort
to dowry indicate a strengthening of patriarchal norms. b) Low participation in
paid employment and decline in inheritance rights restricts access to earned and
inherited resources thereby reducing women‘s ability to own and control property.
Women‘s lack of control over property is associated with dowry-related crime and
domestic violence against women.

What have women in Kerala done with their impressive gains in education, health
and demographic advantage? Where have these ‗achievements‘ been directed?
These questions underscore the importance of a re-evaluation of the
conventional indicators. We focus particularly on women‘s employment in the
context of the gendered trade off between employment and domesticity in the
context of rising levels of education of women and women‘s growing vulnerability
to violence in the context of restrictions on their property rights and access to
earned incomes. The contemporary trends in education, employment and
property rights need to be situated in the context of social and legal reform in the

 Work participation, particularly access to earned incomes is an important aspect of empowerment though
by itself it does not ensure control over earnings or women’s ability to take ‘self-interested’ decisions.

early twentieth century. Hence the first part of this note recounts the success of
reforms in changing social institutions, particularly marriage and family, among a
cross section of social groups in Kerala. In the second part, we have probed
deeper into educational attainment by gender not only in terms of levels as is
done in constructing the GDI, but also by the pattern of education. This is
followed by an analysis of women‘s employment and drawing up of linkages
between education, employment and domesticity. In the third part we turn to
women‘s property rights, document evidence of a conjugal framework of property
‗holding‘ and discuss evidence of increasing rates of crime against women in the
have masked women‘s poor employment profile
Social Reform, Gender and Family

New forms of unequal power relations between men and women were
institutionalized in Kerala through comprehensive social reform in the early-mid
twentieth century. Social reform involved a wide array of processes particularly
modern education and employment, missionary intervention, public debate,
mobilization and campaign by reform oriented organizations and individuals. It
shaped distinct boundaries between the private and the public on the one hand
by giving currency to new ideals of marriage/family and on the other negotiating a
gendered relationship between marriage, higher education and paid employment.
The ideals of marriage/family cut across caste, class and religion in setting up a
gender-based separation of spheres between the husband as the legal-economic
protector of his wife and children and the wife as responsible for the home,
supportive of her husband but his legal dependent. This was clearly distinct from
the position of marriage in the pre-existing joint families, more so when they were
matrilineal (Kodoth, 2001). The new notion of gender was rooted in the belief
that men and women were inherently (naturally) different in terms of their skills
and capabilities and hence their responsibilities were best organised along these
differences (Devika, 2002). However it was also argued that their respective
skills and capabilities had to be property fostered through the exercise of
discipline (Ibid).

When legal-material patronage by men was framed primarily and very generally
(among matrilineal and patrilineal groups alike) in the context of marriage a turn
towards patriliny was almost implied in it. Patrilineal inheritance and descent
also became key factors in the assertion of new social identities in the early-mid
twentieth century. Importantly social reformers associated success in the
economic sphere very generally with patrilineal institutions. The clearest case of
this was the belief that matriliny was the source of economic decline of the
groups that practiced it because it did not recognize ties of property between
father and children. Here reformers posed the marital family as natural and
superior to the matrilineal family and sought to tie women‘s interests to marriage.
Surprisingly however even among the Syrian Christians, a patrilineal group
whose economic fortunes had risen considerably since the mid nineteenth

century, reform was motivated by the need to strengthen and consolidate
Questions of inheritance and succession were of greater importance to the more
propertied groups. The major non-propertied groups stand apart from this
mainstream context. Institutional questions of the kind that dominated reform
among the propertied groups (discussed later) were not so important among the
lowest castes. Here social reform movements were centrally concerned with
addressing caste indignity through education and agrarian struggle for better
working conditions. Yet the onus of community honour/dignity was made to rest
heavily on women. And as among other the upper castes, women‘s bodies
became the sites of contestation and inscription of community identity, as evident
for instance in the struggle to endow women with a ‗respectable‘ dress code (see
Saradamoni, 1980). Lower caste and agrarian struggles questioned the feudal
rights that upper caste men had over lower caste women but well within a
framework of patriarchal rights of lower caste men. The scheduled castes are
among the groups that continue to be outside the development achievements
that have made Kerala so well known. In this context it is a point for reflection
that marriages tend to be much more unstable and the economic provisioning
role of women is underlined among precisely these and other marginalised
groups (Uyl, 1995, Mencher, 1989, Lindberg, 2001). A brief issue based review
from a gender perspective of reform among the Christians, Muslims, Nambudiris,
Izhavas and Nairs follows.

Courting Enterprise through Patriliny: the matrilineal castes
Only one caste, the Nairs were matrilineal throughout Kerala. However most
other castes and religious groups were matrilineal in specific regions. Matriliny in
Kerala was plagued by references to sexual permissiveness among women and
male irresponsibility as husbands and fathers (Kodoth, 2002). Virtually all social-
reform oriented agencies targeted the ‗sexual economy‘ of matrilineal families.
The first voices of censure rose in all likelihood from the Christian missionaries
(see George Mathan). Importantly marriage reform was among the founding
agendas of organised social reform among the major matrilineal groups, the
Nairs and Ezhavas/Tiyas. Gradually social reformers from these castes took to
campaign to rework customary practices. The most prominent of the customs
identified for reform were the life cycle rituals, including marriage that had come
to be seen as celebrating women‘s sexuality. Another set of customs that
prevented women from moving between territories by proscribing them from
crossing specific rivers that constituted cultural boundaries and restrictions
against women marrying men of the same caste but from other regions too came
under the lens of social reform. In north Kerala the Uttara Kerala Nair Samajam
was instrumental in organising people against these territorial injunctions. If
these rules were seen as socially backward and restrictive for women the primary
motivation was tied to the needs of the growing numbers of men who were being
educated and employed outside the region.
Reform organisations were closely attentive to evolving new and appropriate
rituals and practices. Among the Ezhavas/Tiyas they prescribed a specific

marriage ritual that attached central importance to the kanyadana (gift of the girl).
Nair reformers too strove to generalise a new idiom of marriage. For instance
the leader of the Uttara Kerala Nair Samajam refused to attend marriages that
were conducted in the traditional manner at night and campaigned hard to have
marriages formalized during the day. He argued that the traditional practice
carried with it a strong flavour of the sexual permissiveness that permitted men to
sneak in by night and have sexual relations with Nair women without taking any
material responsibility for them and their children. It is instructive that the rituals
and practices advocated by reformers all spoke the language of women‘s sexual
discipline, modern domesticity and male responsibility as husbands and fathers
(Kodoth, 2002).
Hence social reform went a long way in altering the ‗commonsense‘ of matriliny.
The perceived link between patriliny and enterprise was used powerfully in the
reform propaganda of both the Nairs and Ezhavas/Tiyas. Patrilineal marriage
and inheritance customs were projected as superior to matrilineal ones across
matrilineal castes. Nair reformers in particular argued that matrilineal men had no
incentive to work and accumulate wealth as they could not pass it on to their
wives and children, with whom they shared (it was claimed) the most intimate
and natural bonds. They attributed the commercial success of the Syrian
Christians to their patrilineal form of family and saw the matrilineal family,
comprising a woman, her children and descendents in the female line, as lacking
in natural affinities. The matrilineal joint family was dismantled formally through a
series of legislations that by the mid twentieth century permitted partition of
ancestral property on individual lines, provided for compulsory monogamy and
maintenance of wife and children by the husband and sanctioned patrilineal and
spousal inheritance (Kodoth, 2001, 2002).

Excluding Women from Inheritance and Succession: the Syrian Christians
The inheritance and succession practices of the Christians of Travancore and
Cochin, where the large majority of Christians lived, were altered through
statutory reform in 1916 and 1921 respectively. These legislations distinguished
between different groups of Christians in the state, particularly the more
numerous Syrian Christians and other groups. For the Syrian Christians, a
community that was at the turn of the twentieth century clearly settling into its
rapid economic gains of over half a century, the legislations were directed at
defining and restricting women‘s property rights. This was achieved by a)
channeling women‘s property through dowry rather than inheritance, b) restricting
dowry to Rs 5000 or one third (Cochin) and one fourth (Travancore) the share of
men in parental property whichever was less and c) providing a widow with no
more than a life interest (as against a transferable absolute interest) in a man‘s
property, which was also subject to forfeiture if she remarried. These laws
placed on record the highly limited nature of women rights to material support
from their natal family while placing their claims to property of their marital family
on an entirely unequal footing with those of men. Motivating the reforms was the
‗commonsense‘ of patriliny that conservation of property patrilineally was crucial
to ‗enterprise‘ and to the economic consolidation of a community. Thus reform

oriented sections pointed out that compulsory division among sons and
daughters fragmented property and while compulsory partition already existed
among men there was no ‗justification in extending this still further‘. Also dowry
claims were seen as impoverishing men. In this context, the perceived link
between patriliny and enterprise was used on the one hand to deny a fair share
of family property to women and on the other to subordinate and tie women‘s
interests to that of men within both the natal and marital family. The urge to
conserve property through strict patriliny also served to consolidate religious
identity for Canon law and ecclesiastical authorities were dominant reference
points in the process of law reform. The Travancore and Cochin Christian
Succession Acts were repealed only in 1986 though with retrospective effect
from 1951 by a decision of the Supreme Court on a case by a Syrian Christian
woman who challenged them citing the constitutional provision of equality of men
and women (Kodoth, 2003).

Setting the Boundaries of Women’s Freedom: Social Reform among the
Numerically very small the Nambudiris dominated social and economic relations
in Kerala until well into the colonial period. It was the decline of their position by
the early twentieth century that formed the context for reform of family customs.
Economic decline was seen as closely linked to their social and cultural
practices.    As a community the Nambudiris shunned modern education
considering it polluting and were slow entrants into the modern professions and
growing areas of economy such as trade. They practiced an acute form of
primogeniture, which permitted only the oldest Nambudiri male in the family to
marry within the community leaving the rest to find women from the permitted
sections of the lower castes. This meant that many women either remained
unmarried or had much older polygamous husbands. By the late nineteenth
century Nambudiri men were known to exchange daughters in marriage so as to
prevent girls from remaining unmarried and also avoid the large dowries that had
to be paid. Younger members of Nambudiri families were at the forefront of
reform of marriage, inheritance and succession. They reached out to modern
education, claimed the right to marry within the community and to inherit property
separately. Campaign culminated in separate legislation for Travancore, Cochin
and Malabar during the 1930s, which recognised the right of Nambudiri men to
marry within the community and institutionalised monogamy. Partition of joint
family property was permitted only in Malabar. Though partition was on
individual lines, married couples were required to take their shares together.
Division between spouses was possible only if one of them changed religion.
Importantly, reform did raise the need for women to break free of tradition (and
indeed many women entered the campaign). However even the radical sections
of reformers were categorical about the need to define the boundaries of
women‘s freedom to the interests of a modernised family and community
(Kodoth, 1998). If primogeniture was condemned for excluding younger males,
reform carried forward an intensely patriarchal impulse. This is evident in the
efforts to anchor women‘s interests and property to a patrilineal marital family.

The debate on the legislation for Malabar in the Madras Legislative Assembly is
instructive here . The provision for compulsory monogamy in the Madras
Nambudiri Bill, 1932 (for Malabar) was sought unsuccessfully to be amendment
on the grounds that it would motivate men to divorce their present wife if they
wanted to marry again. This it was argued would leave her unprotected. The
proponents of polygamy also cited the sanction of polygamy under Hindu law to
legitimise their claim.
In the second phase of reform separate legislation in Travancore, Cochin and
Malabar were repealed and consolidated in the Kerala Nambudiri Act, 1958. The
new legislation provided for individual partition of joint family property. Under the
regional laws women‘s property rights were split between a dowry from the natal
family and a maintenance or share in the marital family property. This split
nature of women‘s property rights arising from the patrilineal context of
inheritance and succession was now raised as a problem. There was much
anxiety in the house that on partition women could claim independent shares in
her natal and her marital family. As Thanu Pillai argued, ―as soon as she gets the
property of her husband she leaves him and comes away. It is not impossible.
At least they must take their shares together. In the case of divorce the
properties must revert to the original owner. We have seen so many wicked
women. Of course, we can see men also like that.‖ (Kerala Legislative
Proceedings, Vol IV, no 1-15, Feb March, 1958). Despite opposition, the Act
permitted partition on individual lines. However to curb the possibility of
indiscipline by women, it was also argued that a woman‘s identity with her marital
family should be advanced forcefully. ―[Marriage] is the occasion for claiming
partition [by women]. Not only that a person who married into another family-it
may be in another community-ceases to be a member of the illom (joint family of
the Nambudiris) after her marriage. Then necessarily she must ask for her
share. The proper provision would be to compel her to have her share soon after
the marriage” (emphasis added) (A. Thanu Pillai, Kerala Legislative Proceedings,
Vol IV, no 1-15, Feb March, 1958). The legislation provided that upon marriage a
woman would cease to be a member of the family into which she was born. She
was entitled to the marriage expenses and a marriage settlement. The amount
she could claim was fixed at one third of what would fall to her share upon
partition per capita.

Foregrounding Religious Identity through Family Reform: the Muslims
Along with the growing voice for greater identification with Islamic laws, the
association of natural affinities with marriage came to the fore also in the
campaign for legal changes among the matrilineal Muslims of northern Kerala.
The Muslims were concentrated in Malabar and their position was in many ways
similar to that of the Syrian Christians in Travancore. In north Malabar and small
enclaves of south Malabar they were matrilineal. The Mappilla Marumakkatayam
Act, 1939 provided matrilineal Muslims with the right to seek partition of joint
property, full testamentary right and devolution of separate property according to
the Shariat (Derrett, 1999). A Kerala amendment in 1963 extended the statute to
all Kerala, substituted the word Mappilla with Muslim and brought devolution of

ancestral property under the Shariat. These changes were underpinned by local
level campaign that targeted customs that were perceived as not been in
accordance with Islamic principles.

The Hindu Code of 1956 including separate laws on marriage and succession
was made applicable to all castes and social groups defined as ‗Hindu‘. The
matrilineal castes and the Nambudiris were however treated on slightly different
terms most prominently in their exclusion from the patrilineal Hindu coparcenary
property to which only men enjoyed survivorship rights. Eventually the Kerala
Hindu Joint Family (Abolition) Act, 1976 did away with the notion of joint family
property reducing all property to separate property on which spouses, children
and parents had prior claims. However, this volume of reform activity in the legal
sphere among the Hindus has stood in contrast to the reluctance of the post
independent state to reform Muslim or Christian personal laws (Agnes, 1999).
Despite repeated pleas for reform, the marriage and divorce laws of the
Christians enacted in the nineteenth century and plagued by highly gender
discriminatory clauses continue to stand. Besides, the Supreme Court decision
that repealed the inheritance laws of the Christians of Travancore and Cochin in
favour of the more gender equitous Indian Succession Act, 1925 was met with
strong and organised resistance from the community and church. It is also
instructive that few women so far have been able to risk community displeasure
and take advantage of it (Jaisingh, 1999). The process of weakening of women‘s
customary rights to property was gradual and corresponded to their greater
identification with marriage and dependence on the husband or marital kin.

Social Reform and Women‘s Education
Women‘s education was recognised as the bedrock of social reform. Madhava
Rao, the Dewan most closely associated with Travancore‘s impressive record of
modernization, noted in the 1860s ―very little, if anything, has been done, for
female education. This subject calls for prompt attention, as such education
must be among other advantages the foundation of important social reforms‖
(Travancore Administrative Report, 1862-63: 44 cited in Salim and Nair 2001:
48). The government and particularly the Christian missionaries advanced girl‘s
education through special measures including the setting up of separate girl‘s
schools, training of women teachers on a priority basis and providing
concessions on fees. While they relied greatly on a gender based separation of
spheres to persuade people to send girl children to school, the missionaries also
promoted the idea that education would only strengthen women to play
appropriately womanly roles most prominently those of wives and mothers
(Haggis 1998: 90). By the early twentieth century besides the state, reform-
minded individuals, caste organisations and Christian groups were active in
starting schools in all the regions of Kerala. However, the importance attached to
women‘s education remained tied to the compulsions of social reform
contributing at least partly to regional variations in the spread of education.
This particular approach to women‘s education has meant severe constraints on
their freedoms.      Robin Jeffery (1992: 11) probably stands alone in the

observation that ―women in Kerala became increasingly obvious in schools and
colleges and salaried jobs. But at the same time, their autonomy may well have
declined. Their salaries went into coffers now increasingly likely to be controlled
by husbands‖. However he fails to probe this further and like legions of
commentators on Kerala‘s development experience ends up celebrating
women‘s instrumental role. ―Democratic politics, involving large sections of a
population, can be made to provide services that people need and, consequently,
use. Literate, confident women will, as domestic managers, turn such services
into better health for men and women alike‖ (emphasis added) (Jeffrey, 1992:
228). Contemporary trends in women‘s education, employment and property
rights i.e., the continued gains in education as against the huge restrictions on
employment and property rights are informed strongly by an institutional context
wrought by early-mid twentieth century reform hence the latter could help
understand the former.

Women‘s Education and Employment
Educated unemployment is clearly a most serious problem in Kerala, but also
much more so for women than for men. While the factors shaping job
preferences are crucial in understanding educated unemployment in the state,
they are also strongly gendered and hence distinct for men and women. For
women paid employment is ranged against the demands of full time domesticity
but also raises the possibility of disrupting conventional norms. This is clearly
reflected in the nature of women‘s job preferences, which reflect patriarchal
interests in accordance with what is considered socially desirable for women –
restricted mobility and high status work. Despite 'desirable' kinds of work being
highly limited, as reflected in high rates of educated female unemployment,
women keep their aspirations alive by continuing in the education stream longer
(Kumar 1992). However unlike men for whom the need to find employment is
clearly central (Osella and Osella, 2000) for women a greater number of years in
a general education could be perceived as being in the interests of the family as
it could foster more effective child care, health and education. This accords with
the generalized orientation of women‘s education and work/employment in
directions that either actively foster female domesticity or at least do not threaten
to destabilize it (Eapen and Kodoth, 2002).

Pattern of Education by Gender
The high levels of female literacy in Kerala have been well documented.
Women‘s achievements have been close on the heels of that of men: over the
decadal periods since 1961, gender based disparity (ratio of male literacy rate to
female literacy rate) has narrowed rather sharply from 1.39 to 1.07 by 1991 and
remained at the same level in 2001 (Eapen and Kodoth, 2002). Some of the
more notable achievements have been the near universalisation of primary
education for both girls and boys, and the very low (compared to all-India) school
drop-out rates for girls which in fact are higher for boys since at least the early
seventies at each level of school education (Ambili 1996).

However, what gets obscured by the very high aggregate literacy levels in the
state is (a) the lower (than all-India) proportion of ‗graduate and above‘ category,
among both men and women in Kerala as discussed elsewhere in the Report;
and (b) the gender differentiated pattern of higher education within the state as it
has evolved over time. Although gender disparity is extremely low in the 10th
standard, (even reversed to some extent at the pre-University and non-technical
diploma levels) and currently women far exceed men in graduate and post
graduate education in the arts and science courses2, they lag far behind men in
professional/technical education except in professions such as nursing, where
there are few men, and teaching, where the ratio is in favour of women.
However, women formed less than one third of the students enrolled in
engineering colleges (in 1997). Similarly in the lower technical educational
institutions which are job oriented the intake of girls is below 10 per cent in
technical schools, between 13 and 23 per cent in ITIs and ITCs (two year course)
and between 30 and 40 percent in polytechnics during the 90s. The intake of girls
in the 2-year technical courses is negligible except in civil draftsman and
radio/TV/electronic/watch mechanic trades (Years?) (Women in Kerala 2001). In
a striking contrast in the ITI's and ITC's (one year course) data on trade wise
intake reveals a preponderance of women in stenography, dress-making, cutting
and tailoring, secretarial practice and data preparation (Table 2). Clearly women
have limited entry into the more masculine specializations while dominating those
that are already identified with women. By and large the latter calls for less
mobility, are likely to have more women in the work place and may have flexible
arrangements in terms of take homework. This orientation of women‘s education,
in particular the overwhelming crowding of women in general arts and science
courses at the graduate and postgraduate levels is largely in the hope of white-
collar employment. However it also equips women with skills they could call
upon in the interests of the family.

Women and Work
I. Levels of Participation:Kerala and all-India
Women in Kerala have hitherto scored poorly in terms of recorded participation in
paid employment, both in relation to women at the all India level and in relation to
men in the state. Female WPRs (in terms of usual principal and subsidiary
status) in Kerala had been among the lowest in India. Currently while over a
quarter of the female population is recorded as economically active at the all
India level, the proportion is about 23 percent in the state. The difference is
primarily due to lower rural female WPRs in Kerala. However in relation to all
India the urban situation in Kerala seems favourable. About one fifth of women
in urban Kerala are employed compared to less than 14 percent at the all India
level. And, unlike at the all India level, which has witnessed a decline in female
WPRs in both rural and urban areas in the 90s (Sundaram 2001), there has been
greater stability in Kerala. (Table 3). However, there is a catch. Data on the
activity status of those who are employed shows that the number of days of work

 About two thirds of the students enrolled in graduate courses were girls and almost three fourths in post
graduate courses (Women in Kerala 2001).

is much higher for women in rural and urban India and it increased during 1993-
94 and 1999-00. Alongside this the number of days of unemployment declined in
India as also the days not in the labour force. In Kerala the number of days of
work has declined in rural areas and showed no change in urban areas.
However, the days of unemployment increased in rural Kerala while in urban
areas there was an increase in the number of days women reported 'not
seeking/not available for work', i.e., were not in the labour force. (Table 4). This
suggests a higher incidence of short duration employment for women in Kerala
and a revealed preference of urban women for withdrawal from paid work.

We need to bear in mind here that women in Kerala enjoy higher wage rates
(casual) in both rural and urban areas than in other parts of the country and
hence their annual earnings may still be higher. Bolstered by increasing male
WPRs, as we see later, and higher household earnings it is entirely likely that
women are withdrawing into full-time domesticity for significant parts of the year.
This could reflect an 'informed' choice, an option reflecting greater leisure or time
to attend to household/family concerns. Yet we cannot ignore the strong element
of uncertainty implicit in a decline/constancy in the number of days worked in the
90s. Such a choice entails considerable risk of vulnerability by reducing women's
direct access to earned incomes and increasing their dependence on their
husbands or others
 ii. Levels of Participation by Gender and Education in Kerala
Female WPRs in Kerala are less than half of those for males—23 percent vis-à-
vis 55 percent for males and while the latter has increased since 1987-88, female
WPRs as we observed above remained constant during the 90s (see Table 3).
The worker sex ratio (female workers per 1000 male workers) which had
declined from almost 536 in 1987-88 to about 439 in 1993-94, further declined to
436 in 199-00. This is reflected also in a decline in the share of women in the
total work force from 35 percent to 30.5 in the early nineties and then further to
30.3 percent in 1999-00 3; so much for ‗feminization‘ of the work force.

Even among the highly educated women in Kerala, (that is, graduate and above)
latest data reveal that the worker participation rates were 37 percent (urban) and
32 percent (rural) compared with 87 percent and 82 percent respectively for men.
Further, gender disparity in levels of educated employment (ratio of male
graduate WPR to female graduate WPR) has widened marginally from 2.0 to 2.4
in the nineties (Table 5). The table also throws up the very low levels of female
participation in the secondary and plus two categories, apparently with no other
skill acquisition and hence very little potential for a ‗status‘ job. Not surprisingly
this segment records the highest incidence of educated female unemployment.

Levels of Unemployment
Attempts to explain low female work participation rates in terms of greater overall
unemployment in Kerala are inadequate for while female unemployment rate far

 These percentages have been estimated on the basis of absolute numbers in the work force and its
composition derived from the WPRs and population data.

exceeds that of men generally, this is particularly so among the educated. Our
earlier discussion reveals that women‘s job preferences have also played a role
in constraining their opportunities for work. Female educated unemployment is as
high as 34 percent in urban areas (in 1999-00) compared to about 7 percent for
men. And while educated unemployment has declined for all men in the 90s, it
has increased for women particularly in rural areas. (Table 6).

Given high levels of educated unemployment it is entirely likely that these women
are unable to procure jobs commensurate with their educational skills and
preferences, choosing to remain unemployed. Nagaraj (1999) has argued that
high unemployment rates for women (and men) in states such as Kerala vis-a-vis
relatively backward states- UP, MP and Rajasthan- are largely due to constraints
in ‗skill utilisation‘: work seekers may not be willing to accept employment at the
wages being offered. It has also been suggested, as mentioned above, that
women in Kerala continue in the educational stream in the absence of availability
of ‗desired‘ employment opportunities (Kumar 1992). However men both
educated and otherwise are far more successful in finding employment. It is
instructive that the nature of their employment, increasingly away from agriculture
and with considerable resort to options like migration, reveals high degrees of
mobility. There is strong ground for us to consider the social context in which
women‘s job preferences are shaped. Nearly three fourths of the unemployed
women in a recent study of women‘s education, employment and job preferences
reported that they were unemployed because they had not been able to find jobs
of their preference (Lakshmi Devi, 2002). Of the factors constituting preference,
social status and proximity to the home were the most important.

Industrial and Occupational Structure
The historical specificity of the region has thrown up a more differentiated
industrial structure for women in Kerala compared to all India (Table 7), with a
much larger proportion of women in non-agricultural employment (49 percent, the
highest among the states of India). Agriculture still accounts for about 60 percent
of female employment in rural areas though absolute numbers employed have
been declining in Kerala, partly due to a changing cropping pattern and partly, as
micro studies have shown (some of which are cited later), young, literate work
seekers are unwilling to work in this low status occupation. Non-agricultural
segments, which absorb a high proportion of women, are manufacturing, trade,
hotels and public administration, social and personal services; in all three,
women‘s employment has grown in the nineties. However, direct estimates of
employment in the informal sector4 in 1999-00 show that over three fourths of the
female workers in manufacturing fall in the informal sector and in trade, hotels it
is over half. In the public, social and personal services the share of formal sector
is high.

 These data are brought out for the first time by the NSSO together with the 55 th Round on Employment
and Unemployment in India.

Within an overall context of low work participation rates, higher levels of literacy
have certainly enabled women to procure a higher share of organized sector
employment in Kerala compared to other states in India. The worker sex ratio
(female employees per 1000 male employees) in the organized sector was 542
for Kerala (highest among the 15 major states) vis-à-vis 188 for all India.
However, worker sex ration was very high in the private organised sector, 848
compared to 344 in the public sector (Srivastatva 1999). The figures over time
reveal that the growth in the proportion of women in organised sector
employment in Kerala like in rest of India has been in the private sector. There
was a decline in public sector employment from almost 33 percent in the early
nineties to about 30 percent in 2000 (Women in Kerala 2001). Private sector
employment is generally less secure and does not always carry non-wage

Additionally, the occupational structure suggests that the larger proportion of
women in the formal sector, would in all probability, be located at the lower end
of the worker hierarchy, aided by the generalized orientation of women's
education to specific areas, facilitating occupational segregation. It is instructive
to look at the occupational distribution of women in 1987-88

Table 3: Work Force Participation Rates (Usual Principal and Subsidiary

            Kerala                               All-India
            1987-88     1993-94      1999-00     1987-88      1993-94     1999-00
            50.6        53.7         55.3        53.9         55.3        53.1
 RM         28.6        23.8         23.8        32.6         32.8        29.9

 UF         53.0       55.9       55.8      50.6              52.1        51.8
            19.8       20.3       20.3      15.2              15.5        13.9
 Total M 51.2          54.3       55.4      53.1              54.4        52.7
       F 26.5          22.9       22.9      28.1              28.3        25.4
       P 38.6          38.3       38.7      41.1              41.8        39.5
Source: 1987-88: Sarvekshana, September 1990
        1993-94: Sarvekshana, July-September 1996
         1999-00: Sarvekshana

Table 8: Percentage distribution of usually working by occupation group
                                 Kerala                      India
1987-88                          rural         urban            rural            urban
                                 male female   male female      male    female   male    female
0 and 1prof,tech rel wkrs        2.2    6.5    7.1   21.2       2.1     1.1      6.9     12.9
08 nursing,other med/hlth        0.1    0.5    0.3   3.9        0.1     0.2      0.4     2
15 teachers                      1.9    5.3    1.7    14.2     1.3      0.8      2.1     9.4
div 2 adm,exec, manag            1.7    1      4      1.3      0.8      0.4      5.5     2.6
div 3 clerical and related       3.3    2.4    10.6   18.8     1.8      0.2
30-35 cler & oth                               9.1    13.3                       10      5.6
supervisors,vill off
mach oper
36-39                                          1.5    5                          1.2     0.4
div 4 sales workers              15.5   3      17.4   6.3      4.7      2.2      18.6    8.9
40merchants,shopkeepers,         7.2    2      10.5   4.3      3.5      1.5      11.9    5.9
43                               2.3    1                      1        0.6
42-44                                          6.1    1.8                        5.7     2.5
div 5 service workers            4.2    7.7    6.6    14.1     4.2      7.7      8.2     17.7
51-56hkeeper,maid,lunderer       0.3    0.6    3.3    12.9     0.3      0.6      4.4     15.8
div6farmer,fishermen,            50.8   50.7   14.9   20.6                       8.5     21.2
610 and                          10     6.5                    41       36.2
63 agric labourer                17.1   25.5                   26.9     35
64 plantation labour             8.8    5.9                    0.8      1
619,65                           0.3    0.3                    0.8      0.7
62,66,67.68                      14.6   12.5                   3.9      5.3
div 7-9prod/rel wkr,transp       24.2   23.3   38.8   22.1     14.3     9.3      28.3    30.5
equip oper
72 metal processors                            0.4    0                          0.8     0.1
75spinner.knitter,weaver,dy      0.9    6.8    2.1    3.8      1.3      1.7      3.9     5.5
79tailor,dressmaker,sewer,u                    2.8    5.7                        2.6     3.8
73,74,76,78                                    2.4    3.6                        1.2     6
80,81shoe/leathgdmaker,                        13     1.6                        12.1    2.2
and 82-89
95bricklayer/oth constrn wkr                   3.9    2.1                        3       3
98engine/rel         equipment                 5.4    0                          5.6     0.1

In urban Kerala, the share of women in professional categories is 21 percent,
which is higher than for all India at 13 percent. However, a further dis
aggregation shows that most of the women are engaged in the lower rungs of the
professional hierarchy - teaching but largely in schools (Eapen and Kodoth
2002).    In the medical profession the larger number appears to be in
nursing/other health technicians. Other occupations are clerical, like steno/typist,
computing machine operators, corresponding closely to the training they opt for
(discussed earlier); within service workers a very high proportion of women in
urban areas are employed as housekeeper, maid, cook, launderer, beauticians
etc; very few are in managerial, administrative occupations. The larger
proportion of women continue as agricultural labourers, plantation workers in
rural areas and as production process workers in urban areas of which
manufacturing (largely in the informal sector) is an important component.

Besides these macro data, certain micro studies over several decades provide
insights into the nature of gender differentiated occupational mobility.
Prominently greater diversification of household incomes and male significant
out-migration have been associated with high levels of male occupational
mobility but also the confinement of women to low paying conventional
occupations (agricultural labour/traditional industry) or to ‗household duties‘. This
could be demonstrated by taking up two sets of work informed by very different
employment contexts. Chasin (1990) points out that between 1971 and 1986-87
in a central Kerala village, which was predominantly rice cultivating and little
affected by Gulf remittances, women had registered much less occupational
mobility than men. In 1986-87, the largest proportion of women were engaged in
household duties (36 percent, though this was a decline from 54 percent in 1971)
or were unemployed (32 percent as against 19 percent of men). Despite
unemployment, Chasin notices that demand for female agricultural labour goes
unmet ―as women seem to prefer unemployment to labouring in the paddy fields‖.
Nevertheless, agricultural labour continued to be the major avenue of female but
not of male employment. Franke and Chasin (1996) analyse the main
occupation of household members in 1986-87 in the same village but the sample
is higher – 676 people as against 548 in Chasin (1990). Their findings support
the diverging trend of male and female employment; women were almost on par
with men as students; but petty trade, skilled labour, white collar, service work,
farmer and professional employment were dominated by men at an average ratio
of 10: 1 (Franke and Chasin, 1996).

The second set of research was in the context of male out migration and
demonstrate the powerful influence that increased economic resources has on
women‘s work patterns (Sivanandan, 2002, Zachariah et al, 2003, Kurien, 2002,
Osella and Osella, 2000). For a quick picture we turn to Sivanandan‘s survey in
1999 of a south Travancore village studied in the Census of 1961, at which time
women were greatly involved in coir making work. Over time, access to other
incomes, particularly through remittances from the Gulf has had a strong impact
on women‘s work patterns. Female work participation plummeted from 43

percent in 1961 to 27 percent in 1999 as against which women in ‗household
duties‘ rose from 16 percent of women non workers in 1961 to 32 percent in
1999. A second feature borne out in these studies is that women in such
upwardly mobile or affluent households retreat from poorly paid manual and/or
informal sector work but are not averse to more employment considered
‗respectable‘, particularly regular jobs in the government sector.

In this context it is revealing to turn to the activities women are engaged in under
the caption of domestic duties. A much higher proportion of women in Kerala
(than at all India level) who report themselves as housewives by main occupation
but also do some subsidiary work are engaged in economic activities at home
such as maintenance of kitchen garden, poultry and cattle, which are accepted
within the domain of extended-SNA activities.5 (Table 9). Notably however such
work is home-bound, evading the negative associations of paid manual work by
women. As high as 639 per 1000 women engaged in domestic duties in rural
Kerala work in poultry compared to less than 550 in rural India while in urban
Kerala 458 women were engaged in maintenance of kitchen garden etc
compared to 80 in urban India.            Similarly, 142 per 1000 women in Kerala
compared to 48 per 1000 in India participate in free tutoring of own/others‘
children. Two inferences that arise from this analysis: 1) that in literate Kerala
too, women are largely involved in unpaid work on the household compound and
2) that women are directing their educational skills towards largely invisible,
home-bound unpaid services. This is one suggestion that women's educational
qualifications have been used in the interests of the family. Yet we cannot forget
that not all women can afford full time domesticity or substitutes for it in domestic
services. Low economic status brings pressure on women to seek work for pay.
It has generally been noticed that some aspects of family patriarchy break down
among poor women owing to the need for greater mobility, their earning power
and their responsibility for provisioning the household. However poor working
women have to contend with the larger structures of patriarchy in discriminatory
wages and occupational segregation. The assumption even at the level of
government policy of the male bread winner-woman housewife model legitimising
lower wages for women for comparable work through occupational segregation
makes it virtually impossible for them to break out of poverty (Lindberg 2001)

Women‘s Property Rights in Kerala
Though ownership is an appealing starting point to understand women‘s property
rights, it need not be a sufficient indication of the latter. Property in women‘s
names could merely indicate a family arrangement, with no substantial bearing
on women‘s ability to independently manage, transfer or decide who should
inherit it. And yet intensely patrilineal/patriarchal societies have denied women
substantial rights to inherit and control property, particularly immovable property.
In order to develop a robust account of women‘s property rights, we need to think
of gender disparity in ownership of property in association with the practices that

 Extended SNA (system of national accounts) activities are activities falling outside the SNA Production
boundary but within the general production boundary, a major part of which consists of unpaid services.

regulate gender differentiated access and control over property. Existing
patterns of gender-differentiated access are fairly long-term outcomes of
practices that regulate control and transfer of property.

Recent data on the extent of land held (occupational holdings) by men and
women in Kerala provides one kind of indication of women‘s rights to property --
in the minimal sense of the extent to which women are recognised as controlling
occupational holding.6 Women from landholding households have been involved
extensively in a range of agricultural activities though they have persisted in
reporting themselves as housewives (Mencher, 1988, 1989, Saradamoni, 1991,
Narayana, 2001). This tendency has been associated with the negative
connotations of specific kinds of work for the status of the family (Osella and
Osella 2000). Recent research suggests that women are increasingly taking
over responsibility for management and cultivation of land in the context of
diversification of household incomes and the shift of male members from
agriculture to other occupations through migration or otherwise (Morrison, 1997,
Arun, 1999). Despite these factors however provisional data drawn from the
agricultural census of 1995-96 for Kerala, suggests a high level of disparity
between men and women in control over landholding. Table 10 shows that
women hold less than a third of the number and area of operational holdings held
by men but also that as the size of holdings increase, women‘s share of the
number of holdings and area declines. Disparity in women‘s landholding is more
pronounced when we turn to the area of holdings. In the above 10 hectares
category, women hold less than 10 per cent of total operational holdings and less
than five per cent of the area of operational holdings.

Table 10: Percentage Distribution by Sex of Operational Holdings and Area under
Operational Holdings (in hectares) according to Size-class groups in Kerala (1995-96)@
               Number of Operational Holdings         Area under Operational Holdings

    Size       Male    Female   Institution   Class   Male      Femal     Institution   Class (%)#
    class                                     (%)*              e
    0.5   to   75.29   23.75    0.96          93.96   77.68     21.16     1.16          53.24
    1.0   to   83.42   15.03    1.55          4.16    83.55     14.88     1.58          20.44
    2.0   to   84.87   12.86    2.26          1.52    84.40     13.32     2.27          14.24
    4.0   to   82.54   12.30    5.16          0.31    82.14     12.19     5.67          6.07
    Above      66.61   8.61     24.78         0.05    44.84     3.62      51.54         6.00
    Total      75.79   23.18    1.03          100.0   78.14     17.16     4.70          100.00
@ This table is based on provisional data from the agricultural census of 1995-96
  The agricultural census takes the household i.e., a commensal unit, as the unit of enumeration. As
members of a single household are not recognised as joint holders, individual holdings stand in for
households. Further operational holdings do not refer to title or ownership as they include owned and
tenanted holdings.

* Percentage of the number of holdings in each size class to the total number of
# Percentage of the area in each size class to the total area under operational
Source: Agricultural Census Division, Directorate of Economics and Statistics,
Government of Kerala in Women in Kerala, 2001.

Practices that regulate property rights have strong implications for women‘s
ability to retain ownership and exercise control over property. Important among
them are inheritance rights and dowry transfers. Men and women acquire
property also through purchase, gifts and other kinds of transfers but we have
already noted that women‘s poor occupational profile poses tremendous barriers
in the way of their acquiring property.

There have been definitive indications over the last quarter of the twentieth
century that dowry is replacing inheritance rights as a mode of transfer of
property to or on account of women. While women‘s bargaining position in their
marital family could vary with the property they bring as a dowry, even a large
dowry is no guarantee of security. Up to at least the mid seventies women
continued to inherit some property among the matrilineal groups, though
distinctions were drawn among different kinds of property (Gough, 1952, Fuller,
1976). A study of women‘s participation in the land market in a highland south
Travancore village found that a much higher proportion of Nair women than men
sold the land they inherited and that ‗migration due to marriage‘ was the most
important reason for sale of land by Nair women (Varghese 1988). This indicates
a higher turnover of immovable property inherited by women in association with
patriarchal marriage and residence with the husband. Among formerly matrilineal
Izhavas in central Travancore, land was sold and the cash equivalent given to
the husband, a form of dowry that is not usually under the control of the girl.
―While a newly wed bride living with her husband and his relatives is in no
position to refuse to relinquish control over her dowry, her contribution may give
her some leverage in the family‖ (Osella and Osella, 2000: 102). Osella and
Osella point out that many women no longer have land to pass on to their
daughters and mother-daughter inheritance is becoming rare. In a survey of
widows in selected areas of north and south India, Chen (2000: 373) found that
67 % of the widows she surveyed in Kerala had inherited land from their husband
as against only 27 % who had inherited land from their parents. When women‘s
inheritance rights are anchored substantially to marriage it underlines their
dependence and vulnerability within marriage.

There is substantial evidence of the very general resort to dowry payments at the
marriages of girls across a cross section of social and economic groups. The
practice of giving stridhanam at the marriage of a girl was customary among the
patrilineal communities -- the Christians, Muslims, Izhavas and Nambudiris – and
has been recorded among specific matrilineal groups as well – Tiyas, Mappillas,
and Izhavas. Importantly in the case of the latter, the dowry did not exhaust

women‘s right to inherit property. Dowry as a highly ‗competitive‘ market
practice, increasingly divested of previous customary regulations has been
documented recently among the Christians (Visvanathan, 1993, Kurien, 1996).
Among the matrilineal groups, over the past half century there has been a very
general shift to dowry marriages (Osella and Osella, 2000: 85, Puthenkalam,
1977). Eapen and Kodoth (2001) have documented the very general acceptance
of the notion of dowry in the state.

Dowries include a combination of cash, gold, land and consumer durables.
Osella and Osella (2000: 106) note that some notional distinction was made
between land and gold to remain in the bride‘s name and cash and goods going
to the husband and his family. In practice however most women lost control over
the entire dowry, which is used to support the needs of the husband‘s family.
Transfer of land at marriage is recorded in the community register of the Nair
Service Society (NSS) and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP),
in areas where these organizations wield clout among the Nairs and Izhavas
respectively (Osella and Osella 2000: 106). Efforts at regulation indicate that
marriage transfers are widely practiced. Recently, Lindberg (2001: 295-96) has
documented the increasing prevalence and the steep escalation of dowry paid
among cashew workers of different castes in Quilon (south Travancore) during
the past half a century. For women there are no guarantees that they will have
title to or control over property transferred at marriage on their account,
underlining their vulnerability during marital conflict. Women‘s property rights
hinges on a host of factors which are weak or absent under a framework of
patriarchal marriage. The ‗thinning‘ of women‘s inheritance over parental
property and women‘s very low rates of participation in paid employment provide
conditions that force women to conform to patriarchal gender codes and expose
them to domestic violence when they do not meet patriarchal expectations.

Crime against Women
A combination of state level (1995-97) and district level (1996) analysis of
National Crime Records Bureau data on Crime against Women highlighted both
the usefulness and limitations of the data (see Mukherjee et al 2001). A major
irritant was the possibility of under-reporting and associated distortion of the data.
However despite these limitations Mukherjee et al (2001) derived cogent patterns
from the data. The relevance of the data, despite suspicion of under reporting
was demonstrated through the contiguity of districts recording the highest levels
of crime where the highest level is surrounded by the next level. Also variation in
crime rates against women across districts increased as we moved from districts
with low rates of total crime to those with higher total crime rates producing a
neat cone on the scatter diagram. If under reporting of crime against women
were proportionately greater than other crime it is more likely to create a positive
skewness (Mukherjee et al, 2001: 4074). We have dealt with data at the state
level between 1995-2000, using moving averages, focusing on Kerala. The
states have also been ranked based on the moving average for 1998-2000.

Reported offences are available under six categories of crime – Rape,
Kidnapping and abduction, Dowry deaths, Cruelty by husband and relatives,
Molestation and Sexual Harassment. In the ascending order of total crime
against women, Kerala ranks 24th i.e., among states/UTs with higher rates of
crime against women, if the states are put into four groups according to ranks. In
two categories, molestation and cruelty at home Kerala ranks 29 th, in the group
with the highest rates. Only in two categories – dowry deaths and kidnapping
and abduction does Kerala rank among states with lower rates of crime.

Table 11: Ranks of States According to the Average rate (1998-2000) of
Crimes Committed against Women (per lakh)
            Rape       Kidnappin Dowry          Cruelty by Molestatio Sexual        Total
                       g&        Deaths         Husband n             Harassme      Crime
                       Abduction                and                   nt            against
                                                Relatives                           women
States      Rat Rank Rat Rank Rat Rank Rate Ran Rat Rank Rat Rank Rat Rank
            e        e        e             k   e        e        e
A&N         1.33 15  0.6 9    0   1    0.97 10 4.47 26   0.43 20  9.4 13
Andhra    1.2 11       0.93 12     0.63 24      6.37   28   4.2    22   2.27 30     17     28
Arunachal 3.03 29      3.43 27     0      1     0.63   8    4.7    27   0.13 11     11.9   17
Pradesh                                                                             7
Assam     2.83 28      4.33 28     0.17 14      3.27   22   2.77 17     0.07 7      13.6   21
Bihar     1.53    18   0.93 12     1.07 30      1.47   14   0.5 3       0.1 9       6.8    8
Chandigar 1.9     22   4.53 29     0.53 23      2.67   17   2.67 14     1.07 25     15.6   25
h                                                                                   7
D&      N 2.37    27   1.57 22     0.37 19      2.17   16   2.3    13   0.17 13     9.27   12
Daman & 1.2       11   1.17 17     0      1     1.47   14   0      1    0.27 18     4.57 5
Delhi     3.17    30   7.3    32   0.93 29      0.77   9    4.4    23   1.1    26   18.2   29
Goa       1.2     11   0.57   8    0.13   13    0.97   10   1.47   8    0.5    21   6.67   7
Gujarat   0.73    5    2.17   26   0.2    15    7.8    30   2.27   12   0.3    19   13.6   20
Haryana 1.97      23   1.63   23   1.47   32    6.2    27   3      19   1.87   29   16.2   26
Himachal 1.87     21   1.5    20   0.1    10    4      25   4.4    23   0.23   15   12.1   18
Pradesh                                                                             7
Jammu & 1.8       20   5.7    31   0.1    10    0.37   6    5.13 28     3.57 32     16.7   27
Kashmir                                                                             3
Karnataka 0.53    4    0.6    9    0.4    20    3.03   20   2.83 18     0.23 15     10.9   16
Kerala      1.63 19    0.37 3      0.1    10    7.33   29   5.3    29   0.23 15     15.2   24
Lakshadw    0.47 3     0    1      0      1     0.5    7    0.5    3    0    1      1.47   1
Madhya      4.5   31   1.17 17     0.8    26    3.77   24   10.1 32     0.97 24     21.5 31
Maharasht   1.4   16   0.8    11   0.43 22      7.93   31   3.17 21     0.93 23     15.1 23
ra                                                                                  3

Manipur 0.43 2         1.9 25     0     1     0.1    4    0.57 6      0    1      3.03 4
Meghalay 1.43 17       0.53 7     0     1     0      1    0.5 3       0.17 13     2.73 3
Mizoram 7.63 32        0.23 2     0     1     0      1    7.07 31     0      1    15.0   22
Nagaland 0.77 7        0.47 4     0.03 9      0      1    0.2 2       0      1    1.5    2
Orissa   2.1 25        1.23 19    0.73 25     3      19   4.43 25     0.5    21   12.9   19
Pondicher 0.37 1       0.47 4     0.27 16     0.33   5    2.67 14     1.67 28     10.0   14
ry                                                                                7
Punjab    1.17 10      1.13 16    0.83 28     2.67   17   0.93 7      0.07 7      7.03   9
Rajastan 2.33 26       4.83 30    0.8 26      9.93   32   5.73 30     0.1 9       23.9   32
Sikkim     1.23   14   0.5   6    0     1     0.97   10   2.67 14     0.13 11     5.27   6
Tamil      0.73   5    1.5   20   0.3   17    1.03   13   3.07 20     2.8 31      20.4   30
tripura    2.07   24   0.97 14    0.4   20    3.23   21   1.8    11   0    1      8.57 10
Uttar      1.03   9    1.67 24    1.3   31    3.27   22   1.5    10   1.57 27     10.6 15
West       1      8    0.97 14    0.33 18     4.9    26   1.47 8      0.03 6      8.83 11
Total (All 1.57        1.6        0.7         4.43        3.27        0.93        13.8

The suspicion that better reporting of crime contributes to its rank is particularly
strong when we consider Kerala, given the pervasive assumption that higher
literacy levels and gender parity in the conventional sense would influence better
reporting of crime. We have attempted to work through this obvious constraint.
Reporting of crime is likely to be mediated by gender codes, which stigmatise
women who have been raped or molested, but also by other factors, prominently
the rigidity of the legal system and the intensity of crime. As we have attempted
to show in the case of Kerala, gender codes are neither obliterated nor
transformed in more equitous directions by social development. Analysis of the
rates of different categories of crime over a period of time 1995-2000 (Table 2) in
the context of other evidence on specific categories of crime against women
indicate the relevance of the data. Dowry deaths and cruelty at home are
strongly associated with the domestic context as against rape, molestation and
sexual harassment which involve different degrees of a genre of crime against
women, not associated with the domestic. Kidnapping and abduction are taken
separately as the category presents difficulties owing to the circumstances that
motivate parents or guardians to file cases of abduction (see Mukherjee et al

Table 12: Moving Average of Rate of Crimes against Women (per lakh)

 Kerala Rape       Kidnapp Dowry     Cruelty     Molestati Sexual Dowry      Total
                   ing   & Deaths    by          on        Harass Proh.
                   Abducti           Husband               ment Act
                   on                and
 1995    --        --        --      --          --        --      --        --
 1996    1.33      0.47      0.10    3.73        3.77      0.10    0.00      9.70
 1997    1.67      0.47      0.10    5.13        4.77      0.20    0.00      12.5
 1998    1.70      0.43      0.10    6.60        5.23      0.23    0.00      14.4
 1999    1.63      0.37      0.10    7.33        5.30      0.23    0.00      15.2
 2000    --        --        --      --          --        --      --        --
 1995    --        --        --      --          --        --      --        --
 1996    1.57      1.57      0.60    3.67        3.13      0.57    0.30      12.2
 1997    1.57      1.63      0.63    3.97        3.17      0.67    0.33      12.8
 1998    1.57      1.63      0.67    4.17        3.23      0.77    0.33      13.3
 1999    1.57      1.60      0.70    4.43        3.27      0.93    0.33      13.8
 2000 --         --         --   --        --       --     --                --
Source: Crime in India 1995-2000, National Crime Records bureau,          Ministry of
Home Affairs, Govt of India

Between 1995-2000 the rates of molestation, rape and sexual harassment grew
consistently and at a fairly even pace in Kerala. The rates of rape and
molestation grew at a similar pace while sexual harassment, grew faster partly
because it was initially almost nil. The rate of sexual harassment is relatively low
(for Kerala and India) but it would be absurd to suggest that sexual harassment
occurs with less frequency than rape or molestation. On the other hand, analysis
of two high profile cases of sexual harassment recently revealed the strong
disincentives (of time, resources, effort and legal procedure) attached to
reporting sexual harassment (Devika and Kodoth, 2001). Rape and molestation
being more heinous seems more likely to be reported than sexual harassment.

Dowry death is likely to be relatively better reported on account of the intensity of
the crime though under reporting is not ruled out. Between 1995-2000, the rate
of dowry deaths in Kerala remained steady at a level significantly lower than for
India as a whole. It is well known that dowry deaths and related crime are

concentrated in the north. Kerala was for long considered free of this crime (see
Menski, 1999) in association with its matrilineal traditions and customary
regulation of dowry among patrilineal groups. It is an indication of significant
shifts in marriage practices that dowry deaths are being reported consistently in
the state. Dowry death is a terminal form of cruelty at home and states reporting
high levels of dowry murder may be expected to have high rates of cruelty at
home as well. In fact the rate of cruelty against women is consistently higher
than rate of dowry death for all states. A comparison of the ranking of states on
these two categories indicate strong possibility of under reporting in Bihar, UP
and Punjab, which are in the highest group of states in dowry death but show
significantly lower ranks for cruelty at home.

Kerala ranks in the highest group of states in cruelty at home and molestation
and there was a concerted and fairly sharp increase in rates of cruelty at home
between 1995-2000. Other evidence too indicates the serious dimensions that
this form of violence has attained in the state.       Women in Trivandrum had
reported similar levels of physical violence as women in Vellore and Lucknow
(ranging between 21 and 26 %) according to a study of domestic violence
undertaken between 1997 and 1999 in seven cities of India (INCLEN/ICRW,
2000).7 The study also revealed that over two thirds of the sample women in
rural and a little lower in the urban non slum area had experienced psychological
violence which was considerably higher than in the other sites. A more recent
study of domestic violence in Trivandrum (rural and urban) found that overall
35.7 % of women reported experiencing at least one form of physical violence at
least once in their married life. At 64.9 % the figure was considerably higher for
psychological violence (Panda, 2003: 44).

Further, almost two thirds of the cases filed in the family court in Thrissur
between 1995-98 for divorce and maintenance were on account of protracted
marital disharmony (James, 2000). According to unpublished information from
five family courts of Kerala, among the cases filed in the family courts for divorce,
60% of cases were filed by women – among them 70% of them stated cruelty by
husbands (domestic violence) as the main reason. Cases registered increased
from 2364 in 1997 to 4628 in 2001 – a 50 percent increase in 5 years (E
Mohamed, S Irudaya Rajan, K Anil Kumar, P M Saidu Mohammed, 2003).

The socio-economic correlates of domestic violence investigated by these
studies are instructive. Taking all the sites together, the INCLEN study revealed
that gender gap in education and employment was significant in explaining
violence. Violence was more frequent when the woman respondent was more
educated (> 2 years) and had a better type of employment. Nevertheless, the
unemployment status of the husband was significantly and positively associated
with both measures of violence. These findings underline the importance of work

  It is only to be expected that levels of reported violence will be much higher in primary surveys, which
probe closely into respondents experience of violence, than in crime statistics, which only reflects violence
to the extent to which it is recognised as crime and registered with the state.

status to male identity. Existing evidence for India and Kerala also points to the
negative association between socio-economic status and domestic violence
(INCLEN/ICRW, 2000, NFHS 2, 1998-99, Panda 2003). In particular, Panda
(2003) found that education status of men and women was negatively associated
with life time prevalence of violence and that women engaged in irregular/casual
employment were more likely to experience violence while regular employment
was likely to reduce violence (Ibid, 56). However as INCLEN/ICRW (2000) point
out it is entirely open to interpretation whether women of higher socio-economic
levels actually experience lower levels of violence or merely report it at lower
levels. It is instructive that ownership of property (land and house) by women
was found to reduce both physical and psychological violence against women
(Panda, 2003: 66). Existing work converges on a set of reasons that are seen as
inciting violence. The INCLEN study found male dissatisfaction with women over
domestic responsibilities including disobedience, infidelity and alcoholism were
key causes of violence. While these were important in Panda‘s study too, he
also noted that 30 % of women who had arranged marriages cited dowry as a
factor in violence (Ibid, 51). Clearly these provide strong indications of
patriarchal structures underlying violence against women, most clearly in the
gendered expectations that they sustain.

Discussions on session
The session was chaired by Dr. Saradamoni and the discussants were Ms Vanitha
Nayak Mukherjee and Dr. Sheeba.K.M. A few comments were made on women‘s
Education and employment situation in Kerala. Most women are employed in services
sectors especially in teaching and nursing This is in conformance of their social roles as
cares and nurturers Some women‘s organisations have attempted to bring changes by
encouraging women to take trainings in the unconventional sectors such as are
masonry, plumping, carpentry, aluminum fabrications, pump operations etc.

But even if women attempted to work in these fields, people had pre- conceived ideas
about the quality of work done by women. Moreover status also plays a hand in securing
jobs in Kerala. If gulf remittances or high wages by men are there in the family then
women show more dependency on men. Men working in gulf countries control the
sexuality of their women by not allowing them to work outside the home

One of the conclusions of a study on ―Crimes against women‖ showed that the more the
women are educated and better employed than the men, the more they are prone to
violence from their partners. In another study it was pointed that women who owned
property seemed to experience less violence. The second finding was contested by
many in the audience.

The existing literature lay a lot of emphasis on female literacy leading to changes.
―Matrileny‖ had an important role to play. Women had a certain status in the traditional
Kerala society. Studies at state level shows a very high rate of unemployment in Kerala
with low work participation rates. Conclusively it was said that women are educated but
are not able to utilize the skills as they lack opportunities to acquiring skills to move into
better occupations. From the gender point of view this kind of a situation-enhanced
women‘s vulnerability, which made them more and more depended on the household

income generated mainly by the male. This could also be related to the insecurity,
conflicts and violence against women in marriages. The cases at the Family court
showed that marital conflicts are slightly higher among families where women are more
educated than men and disobedience is one of the most stated factor of conflicts of this

It was also observed that there is not a contradiction between social development and
women‘s position. Women‘s position was built into the kind of social development that
was created. There was no gender paradox because the social development was built
on higher inequality. Women‘s education was also found to be the bedrock of social
reforms. Both health and education came together in this paper and both were sort of
weaved into the reform movements. Social reforms did address the questions of health.
Social reform movements also simultaneously addressed women in terms of
domesticity, the kind of marital family structure.

This paper attempted to link education and domesticity in such a way so as to not
disturb the accepted norms of women‘s work. Naturally a question arises as to how the
family copes if women are employed. There is also an old controversy about how
women‘s work was not shown in official statistics. When women report themselves as
housewives they might be making a small income from the economic and income
generating activities or from tutoring, tailoring and dressmaking but which is not
considered as work. Therefore it was observed that there is a need to argue along
certain lines to legitimize professions for women.

Another gender paradox seen in Kerala is lack of political representation of women
which needs to be analyzed. It was mentioned in the earlier session that the eradication
of poverty should be the focal point of women. In Kerala now the only people who
involve in eradicating poverty is women in Self help groups affiliated to Kudumbasree. In
this scenario it is observed that women who are domesticated are seen as very good
poverty eradicators. But unless the poverty eradication intervention go beyond this and
focus on gender discrimination and development technologies like that of IT
interventions in some places, the women would as is typical of Kerala, just consumers
once again.

Education has an instrumental value but that instrumental value can be channeled.
`Asan Pallikkudam’ had once prevailed in Kerala where the children were neither
refused privileges of education nor was there any coercions in such matters. It did not
mean that all the children had participated in such Pallikkudams. But when the organized
schools came education was given another dimension.

Finally the Chairperson Dr. Saradamoni concluded the session with her views. It was
observed that discussions on land and property rights left out to mention what had
happened to the agricultural lands and the small peasants in Kerala in the last 3
decades. Also an issue left out was that of scarcity of water and its implication on health.
To conclude she said that there exists a fearful atmosphere in the field of Kerala‘s
political and social atmosphere that was not there before. Finally it was concluded that
even though it is a struggle, the issues of violence against women should be politicized..
Kerala women should come out of their protective enclosures and fight for the rights of a

Session 3: Paper 3

Women’s Invisible work – Traditional and Informal Sectors
Women in the informal sector

Paper presented by Ms. Nalini Nayak and Sonia George,SEWA-Kerala

Nalini began the session by speaking about the various kinds of invisible work
women do in the traditional and informal sectors. Work is not just paid labour but
any activity in which labour power is expended. Women‘s work within the family
is invisible - nurture and various services for her husband. Then there is also
livelihood related work, which can be either work that sustains the family or that
which relates to producing for the market, for exchange. In this aspect of work, in
traditional sectors, the sexual division of labour is complementary because it is
the work of both the man and woman that makes a product for the market,
converting the product into money. For example in fisheries men catch the fish
and women sell it. Despite the fact that there is a gender bias even in this sexual
division of labour and forces the women to bear the household burden single
handed, the labour of both the man and woman is required to convert the product
into food/money.

80% of the workforce is in the informal/unorganized sector.
Data of the unorganized producers and workers in the informal sectors are given
below : -

 Informal Sector
 Unorganized producers                    Unorganized workers
 Toddy workers               45,000       Cashew                        1,31,000
 Fish workers                2,40,000     Shop                          6,00,000
 Agriculture workers         20,00,000    Construction workers          5,00,000
 Khadi workers               26,840       Beedi, Cigar                  2,50,000
 Handloom                    2,50,000
 Coir workers                3,84,000

               Total      -      48,85,000
 Artisans 40,00,000 ( 3,25,000 )

Most of the workers in the informal sector who produce for the market, produce
goods from resources that are public and permit free access. This is generally
called common property and such common property could be the forests, the
sea, various other resources from land which is not privatized. Now common
property is becoming increasingly privatized and with this the poor loose access
to them. If we speak In terms of social security for unorganized producers it

would mean that their right of access to resources in the common property is
retained. If access is retained then they have the rights to livelihood. In the case
of unorganized workers, social security would be job security and regulated
employment. This security is to be provided by the regulations of the State that
should provide an enforcement mechanism for the same. But often in these
unorganized producers women are not recognized as workers because husband
is considered the head of the household.

The role of the state on the one hand is to protect the commons and avoid
privatization and on the other hand it has to regulate employment. In Kerala most
of the people who struggled for the right of access to resources almost never
succeeded. The state totally failed to protect the commons, which meant that
people who depended on them for a livelihood were marginalized. There are
various ways in which this displacement took place in Kerala. In communities
where matriliny existed women had the right to inherit productive assets. In
fisheries for instance, they inherited the use rights of the boats and nets. But
when the banks came in with loans, these loans to buy equipment were given to
the men. This resulted in the displacement of women‘s ownership rights through
bank loans. Another factor pointing to the state‘s insensitivity to women was that
no support or subsidy was given for woman‘s productive work. In the 1990‘s
Kerala made extensive resource maps but it did not make note of access
considerations. It is fact that there is a massive displacement in every sector due
to modernization.

Kerala is well known for its numerous welfare boards for the welfare of the
workers in the informal sector. The boards have been created as a result of
worker‘s struggles. Interestingly, instead of responding to worker‘s actual
demands of a right to livelihood, the boards were created to provide welfare.
Even these welfare boards have been one sided and very male oriented.
Establishment of the boards became a political process which offered social
security nets like lifeline social assistance schemes and social insurance cum
provident funds. At present there are around 42 social security schemes in
Kerala. Around half of the 42 schemes are financed completely from the state
budget with an annual commitment of Rs. 1800 million, which is 3% of the State‘s
revenue budget.

There are some major and conceptual flaws in these boards. The administration
management and delivery system is inefficient and there is no co-relation
between government‘s financial support and the real need. This leads to
questions of justice especially when seen from a women‘s perspectives. There
were certain biases in developing social security systems in favour of the more
powerful and vociferous section of male workers. Women have been left out
these process completely. For example the government contribution to the toddy
board with only male workers is 10% of the budget while zero contribution is
given to the agriculture board where the majority are female workers. In the
boards where the majority of the workers are women there are no schemes for

pension and provident fund (Artisans and Skilled workers welfare scheme); no
proper functioning (Etta, Kattuvally, Tazha workers welfare board schemes) and
no maternity benefit schemes (Artisans and skilled workers). All the women
members are withdrawing membership from these board and joining the
construction workers board which has more beneficial schemes. In this way there
are dues in the government contribution. This laxity of the State affects sectors in
which women are self employed. It becomes very difficult for a woman from such
sectors to keep some money aside for the contributions towards their provident
fund. Moreover, there is no contribution from the agricultural land owners to the
agricultural board where most of the workers are women. There is no integration
or harmonization of basic life-line securities. There is low enrolment of women
workers. So there is much to be desired regarding the ‗unique‘ welfare boards of

Efforts to study and restructure the whole scheme have to be made. A census of
the workers especially women workers in the unorganized sectors should be
taken to assess the exact number of workers and to examine whether the
schemes are sustainable for them. Moreover the accessibility of the funds to the
female workers should also be studied. Another thing that needs to be noticed is
that there is no standardization in distribution of the funds i.e the funds should be
equally distributed among the workers. Lastly each panchayat should have a
good monitoring system to distribute, and collect dues.

A reflection on the plight of the workers in the informal sectors should also be
undertaken in the light of the ongoing impact of globalisation, and new
employments that have been created. Women are being drawn into the market
for all kinds of wage work, such as sex workers, cheap labour in modern industry,
fish processing etc. The point is that when women have entered these sectors
the labour laws have been nullified. Its much more advantageous today to
employ women because the organized sector labour laws are being more and
more feminized. When the laws are feminized there is no security and protection
when women are drawn into the market. In Kerala in almost all the fields women
are drawn into the market. So this can be viewed as the culmination of

Kerala is described as God‘s own country. This is the biggest slogan that is seen
everywhere. Two basic aspects of this is a) that on the one hand nature is
objectified for tourism. Nature is no longer the source of livelihood. b) is extreme
commodification of women and women‘s bodies. The patriarchal cycle is
complete in the state touching the poorest and making use of them for the
advancement of the few.

Session 3 : Paper 4

A Case Study : Vulnerability of Cashew Sectors
                                           Dr Anna Lindberg


In Kerala, it is well-known that cashew workers belong to the most deprived
population in the state and that their working conditions are extremely poor. They
number something between 200,000 and 400,000—most of them women—and
frequently heard is unemployment and severe poverty among these people.

By way of background, Dr.Anna Lindberg‘s interdisciplinary studies of history and
development studies back in Sweden made her interested in Kerala‘s past. She
came to Kerala and started to visit libraries and universities, meeting with people
and inquiring about research by indigenous scholars. She became fascinated by
the topic of cashew workers when she realized that they formed the majority of
the factory workers in the state; most of them have been organized into trade
since the 1940s or 50s; that they are literate; and that throughout their history
they have been very militant. The outcome of her research was the book,
Experience and Identity: A Historical Account of Class, Caste, and Gender
among the Cashew Workers of Kerala, 1930 –2000.

This study is interdisciplinary in methodology, theory, and topic. It includes
concepts and theories from social anthropology, sociology, development studies,
and in particular gender studies. Indian history often seems to stop at 1947, but
the present study covers a period from the 1930s to present day. Archives and
printed sources for the post-colonial period are particularly difficult to obtain: they
are not found in UK or the US, but have to be retrieved from archives in India that
are not well accessible and often inadequately organized. Moreover, the sources
are very often not in English. The methodology that was employed was to
combine archival and printed sources with discourse analyses of newspapers
and historical accounts by trade unions leaders. This was supplemented these
with extensive in-depth interviews at cashew factories and in the homes of

In the early 20th century, cashew nuts were processed in people‘s homes or on
the streets and sold at markets. Cashew nuts were known to be especially
healthy and nutritious and weak people were advised to eat them.

In the 1920s, an agent from General Foods (an American company) came to
Kerala in order to search for profitable export goods. He came upon cashew nuts

and soon the first shipment left Kerala. Some British companies also became
involved in the business, but very soon indigenous men were in majority among
the cashew factory owners. The processing of cashews started as cottage
production in which men, women, and children were engaged. In the 1930s,
production was centralized into small factories. Soon cashews became one of
Kerala‘s most important export items. Profits were huge and the factory owners
became known as cashew barons or cashew kings. Exporting cashew nuts was
a way to become rich quickly.

While analyzing the archival documents and statistics, and reading trade union
leaders accounts of the history of the cashew sector, two kinds of stories were
found: one related a glorious history of how male leaders succeeded in forming
unions among women cashew workers and improved their working conditions. A
second told of ruthless capitalist exploiters—the factory owners. Nowhere was
the strict gender division of labor that prevails in contemporary cashew factories
questioned; it was seen as natural and timeless. In order to understand this
gender division of labor, we need to look at the different phases in the processing
of cashew nuts: roasting, shelling, peeling and grading.

Today, only about 5% of the work force is male, and they do all the roasting. Of
the remainder—all women—40% are involved in shelling, and the remaining 55%
consist of peelers and graders. A few incidental jobs involve drying cashews,
packing tins for export, carrying cashews from one section to another, loading
trucks, and so on. These jobs are mainly carried out by males.

Roasting was especially hot, dangerous, and dirty work in the old days, when it
was done in pans over an open fire. It became lighter and less dangerous when
drum roasting machines were introduced in the 40s and 50s. Roasting is
necessary in order to make the dense outer shell of the ―cashew apple‖ brittle for
the next stage, shelling. There, the sooty, black nut is pounded with a mallet until
the shells cracks and the inner brown kernel can be removed. The shell contains
corrosive oil, related to poison ivory, that gives the workers severe skin problems
and may even cause cancer. To protect their skin, shellers continuously dust
their hands with wood ashes or wear gloves that they must provide at their own
expense. Next, peelers use their fingernails or a knife to remove the inner brown
skin surrounding the cashew kernel. Inevitably, some kernels break during
shelling and peeling, and these are sold at a slightly lower price. Ironically,
workers get paid nothing for processing such kernels, although factory owners
find a lucrative market for them. Grading, the final process before packing, is
done manually according to a system that determines quality by color and size.

Cashew factories consider roasting a male job, whereas shelling, peeling and
grading are classified as ―women‘s work‖. The 5% of cashew industry
employees who are male are generally paid monthly and receive some
unemployment compensation if the factory closes down seasonally for lack of
raw nuts. Women, however, are paid by the piece and usually get nothing when

the factory is closed. In statistics from the early 1930s, found that most cashew
factories at that time employed about 25% to 30% men—in some factories the
figure was as high as 50% to 60%. Then factory owners and trade union leaders
were interviewed. However, when asked about male shellers, peelers, and
graders, they answered that there have never been any men to do that work
unless they are some young boys or sometimes handicapped men worked in
female sections. But no able-bodied men ever did this processing. Only women
who had the patience and the necessary nimble fingers to carry out this work did
the processing. Men do the roasting as it is heavy, dangerous and also involves
machines which only men can handle.

In statistics from the early 1930s, I found that most cashew factories at that time
employed about 25% to 30% men—in some factories the figure was as high as
50% to 60%. Factory owners and trade union leaders were interviewed.
However, when asked about male shellers, peelers, and graders, they answered
that there have never been any men doing that work unless it is some young
boys or perhaps sometimes handicapped men worked in female sections—blind,
lame or very, very old. But no able-bodied men ever did this processing. Only
women have the patience and the necessary nimble fingers to carry out this
work. Men do the roasting as it is heavy, dangerous and also involves machines
which can be handled only by men.

In the 1960s, trade unions became a real problem for factory owners, so they
began to shift their plants to neighboring states—mainly Tamil Nadu. But they
also started to use whatever other ways they could to evade the labor laws. One
stratagem was to close down a factory after a few months and reopen it under a
new name. Another was to open illegal, non-registered factories, so-called
kudivarappus, in which no labor laws applied and wages were about half the
legal minimum wage. Going on strike was no longer a very effective weapon for
workers. In fact it was counterproductive, since factories closed down all the time
and became seasonal. (The kudivarappus, however, were not seasonal and
continued to be a public secret). In Tamil Nadu, factory owners bribed civil
servants and politicians so that they could evade labor laws. They may have
done so in Kerala as well, but we have no evidence, as we do in the case of
Tami Nadu. However, the cashew factories in Tamil Nadu were owned by the
same people as in Kerala. Factory owners would threaten that if politicians
insisted on implementing labor laws in Tamil Nadu, they would just shift their
production to kudivarappus in Kerala, leading to severe unemployment in Tamil
Nadu. Similarly, in Kerala they argued that they would shift their factories to
Tamil Nadu if unions and civil servants were not cooperative, bringing about
unemployment in Kerala. So they would play the two states against each other.

What did the trade unions do about this? Union leaders mainly argued two
things: a) they were more or less helpless against the powerful factory owners, b)
they tried their best to prevent them from going to kudivarappus, but since many
women were illiterate and ignorant, and could not understand the long-term goals

of socialism so it was hard to prevent them. Some union leaders claimed that the
husbands of women who were unemployed would provide for them, citing
women as merely contributors to male-supported households. (This was
completely false. For more then 70 years, the majority of female cashew workers
have been the main providers for their families).

Several sources indicated that not only women, but unemployed male roasters
as well went to kudivarappus. The difference was that women were paid half
wages, while men were actually paid more then in the registered factories, as
compensation for the loss of certain fringe benefits and also for their loyalty to the
factory owners. Kudivarappus are clearly located in the informal sector. However,
the case of the cashew factories shows that the distinction between the formal
and informal sector is not very strict. The same owners and the same workers
often operate in both sectors.

Since the 1930s and 40s, workers who were formerly defined in terms of caste,
came to be constructed in terms of gender with the advent of modernization. The
radical working class in Kerala was now seen as if it could only be male.
Somehow men did not even need to be organized into unions to be considered
―radical trouble makers‖.

The following conversation, which took place in 1999 at the home of three
shellers, Santha (born 1957), her daughter, Meena (born 1982), and
Santha‘s mother, Velumbi (born 1930), a former sheller, illustrates this
      Santha: I work in a state-owned cashew factory, but now it is closed.
      Interviewer: How do you survive when the factory is closed?
      Santha: I go to a kudivarappu. I have to—otherwise there will be no
      rice in the house.
      Interviewer: How often do you go there, and how much do you earn?
      Santha: I go six days a week and I get thirty rupees a day. I work
      about eight hours a day.
      Interviewer: Isn‘t that betraying the trade unions—going to a
      Santha: It is a betrayal of the idea of trade unions—not the trade
      Interviewer: Can you explain what you mean?
      Santha: There is no trade union in the kudivarappus and we can‘t start
      one, because then we will no longer have any work. The trade union
      leaders from outside know about this, but they don‘t do anything. It is
      not in their interest—some of them are even involved in kudivarappus
      themselves. That is also betraying the idea of trade unions. This illegal
      processing could not have continued without their approval. On the
      other hand, we need them. When the state-owned factory is open—
      last year it was only about one month, but before it has been a little bit
      better––I get a ―dearness allowance‖, a bonus for Onam, and some

     days off with wages. We would not have achieved those rights without
     trade unions.
The older woman and her granddaughter now entered the conversation.
     Velumbi: That is what people say today, that the unions are involved in
     businesses behind our backs. I can‘t believe it, but if it is true we
     should object loudly. We should not hide when there is a problem like
     this. And without unions we would never have reached this stage.
     Santha: But, Amma, what to do? There is no rice in the house,
     kudivarappu owners have their own laws and rules, and the unions
     only care for registered factories. We are caught in a trap.
     Velumbi: I am old, but you must never give up like this. Go out and
     Meena: Grandmother is so full of trust in unions, but things are not like
     they were when she was young. Unions are not for us, they are
     beyond our spheres of life.
     Santha: No, Meena, not like that, we need the unions, but it is difficult
     to make them engage with the kudivarappus. They should––but I do
     not know how.
We changed the subject and started to talk about supporting a family.
     Interviewer: How many are working for wages in this family?
     Santha: My daughter and I, and sometimes my husband. The other
     children are too young—they are still at school.
     Interviewer: What about your husband? What kind of work does he
     Santha: He is a casual laborer in agriculture and construction work,
     but he only a few days a week.
     Interviewer: How much does he earn a day?
     Santha: One hundred rupees is the minimum, but for hard work he
     earns 150 rupees. Normally he gets a job two or three days a week
     and usually he gives me 50 or 75 rupees for food after a day‘s work
     Interviewer: Is he a trade union member?
     Santha: No, we felt that it was too much to pay the fees for two
     memberships, so we paid only for me.
     Interviewer: Can your husband get more work if he accepted lower
     Santha: Nobody would do that among the men! And nobody asks
     them to do it!
     Interviewer: Why do you do it?
     Santha: What would you do if your children were starving? I will do
     anything for my children. I will even kill myself if that would help them!
     Last week I had a fever, so I could not go to work. My daughter fainted
     from hunger. I borrowed 100 rupees from a moneylender. Now I have
     to pay it back, but every day my debt will increase by one rupee.8

     Interviewer: Is your husband not prepared to do anything for his
     children, as you are?
     Santha: You see, the responsibility for the children has always lain on
     my shoulders. My husband is often out and he does not hear their
     cries of hunger. Men just don‘t understand these things. They take it
     for granted that there is food in the house. I can‘t change him. I
     suppose he does his best, and besides, what would people think of
     him if he started to work for half wages?

The dominant gender discourse within their culture holds men up to be the
breadwinners in their families. Thus, there is a paradox between the ideal and
the reality. The same prevailing discourse also assigns men the roles of radical
workers, loyal unionists, and party members. The strength of these identifications
overshadows the breadwinner role, leaving men to pursue their political aims,
even to the detriment of family obligations, and yet not be looked down upon as
anomalies. In this process, trade unions, which have become more and more
hierarchical, have played a major role. The institutionalization of unions has also
made them more masculine and less grassroots-oriented. For example, the
demand to be paid for broken kernels was first raised by female workers in 1937,
but more than six decades later, it has still not been met. Many women complain
that trade union leaders do not entertain ―small questions‖ any longer—only
issues that are of great political importance. They claim that women had more
power in the unions in the 1940s than in subsequent years.

Many of the women with whom Dr Anna spoke stated that, although they
themselves were factory workers, they wanted their daughters to become
housewives. Even women who said that their work had given them some
freedom and empowerment vis-à-vis their husbands told me that they wanted
their daughters to be housewives. Such women have started to consider
themselves anomalies. The best way to secure a brighter future for their
daughters, they felt, was to get them a good husband, that is, a husband who
could provide for a family. Their strategy was to ―buy‖ a husband with a job by
giving him a big dowry. Where would the money come from? Very often women‘s
labor is converted into dowries—in effect, a transferring of resources from
women to men. The dowries referred to here are not so-called stridhanas (that
remain the bride‘s property), but wealth that goes to the groom or his family.
Viewed in the context of amassing a dowry, daughters have become a burden to
poor families. This may lead to a tendency to prefer sons, something that has not
existed in Kerala earlier.

Ironically, a ―good wife‖ for a low-caste man in the 1930s was a strong woman
who was able to do a lot of work and provide for herself and her children.
Similarly, a ―good husband‖ for a woman of lower caste was a man with a good
landlord who would extend job opportunities for the woman.

The case study of the Kerala cashew workers is an illustration of how forces
beyond the economic sphere affect the lives of poor workers, and especially how
a shift in hegemonic gender discourse and ideology has been decisive in the
ongoing struggle against capitalist forces. Despite the fact that the women
depicted here have obtained substantially improved conditions at work and in
society in general, the power discrepancy between low-caste men and women
has increased in favour of men. Low-caste women have gone through a process
that we may call effeminization—the way a woman dresses and behaves in
different spaces (i.e., in the factory, at the union, in the household, and in society
at large) is perceived as differing from a man. Today, to a greater extent than in
the 1940s, such women are stereotyped as weak and dependent. The distinction
becomes especially overt in the sphere of marriage. Although women have
improved their living conditions over the past 70 years of ―development‖,
―modernization‖, and the Kerala Model, they have not achieved as much as their
male counterparts; in fact, the gap between masculinity and femininity has
increased considerably.

The changes that have influenced women can be termed as effeminization
instead of the more common ‗feminization‘ because the latter is strongly
associated with such processes as ‗feminization of poverty‘ or ‗feminization of
labour‘. In those instances, ‗feminization‘ is simply a quantitative term designating
an increase in the sheer numbers of women present. The concept of
effeminization, on the other hand, is more ideological and discursive, and has
qualitative implications. Nevertheless, there is a connection between the two:
effeminization often leads to the feminization of both labour and poverty—and
this appears to be what has happened to the cashew workers of Kerala.

Several structural forces have operated into this direction: global capitalism,
westernization, modernization, and to some extent sanskritization—the striving of
people to rise in the social hierarchy by consigning women to the role of
housewives. The response to those forces by female workers has been to
negotiate the best option available to them within the social structures in their
quest to keep their daughters away from factory work and secure a brighter
future for them through marriage.

Discussion on the two papers.

The discussion was based on the gender segregation in paid jobs in the informal sector;
social and economic marginalisation of women in Kerala.

Two segregations of gender were observed during a feminist analysis of paid jobs. The
labour market was gender segregated which put male as the breadwinner ideally and
woman as the dependant house worker. The morning session dealt with the work
participation rates in Kerala. A look at the 2001 Census found that the female work
participation has been reduced from 16.1% (1981) to 15.8% (2000). Analysis of the type
of work that women were involved lead to various household and non-house hold

industries, which absorb most of the female employment, especially the coir and cashew
sectors. This rate has decreased due to the stiff competition and capital-intensive
technology. Women in Kerala are also faced with the problems of social & economic
marginalisation and gender discrimination. There is also occupational sex-segregation.
The papers brought out the discrimination in wages and feminization of poverty. Women
entering the labour market had the dual responsibility of employment and also the family
responsibilities like child bearing, care of the elderly, care of other family member. In
Kerala we have to take this into consideration, because of migration of people to other
countries for jobs. The point derived was that women‘s specializations in family tasks
contributed directly or indirectly to the socio –economic disadvantage related to men.
Labour was not empowered which can be seen in the decline of the organized work
force, weakening of the trade union and a political vacuum in terms of agencies which
would advocate the struggle for freedom. More and more temporary employers and
contract workers began to appear which was not recorded. It was suggested that
women‘s organization should apply pressure for registering the workers. Even when they
are working in the informal sector they should be given identity cards; pay slips and
attendance register should be made compulsory for them, so that employment
generated in the informal sector will also have record. A few records existed on women
who entered the informal sector but that was missed completely on any new entrances.
This recording should be made a compulsory requirement to ascertain social security
and welfare.

The facilitator observed that the Umbrella Legislation for the informal sector is a very
radical part of the Bill. Even though the model bill included lot of issues that had been
mentioned here, finally when the bill got passed in parliament it only included welfare
schemes. Registration and creation of facilitation centers at the Panchayat level was one
of the basic things in this new bill. The idea was to decentralize the whole registration
process and make it accessible to everybody at the village level. But as the bill was
passed in a great hurry due to the new election it was passed as only a welfare scheme.

Another comment from the group was that the paper did not mention traditional jobs like
weaving in Handloom sector. This sector is now exposed to exploitation and violence.
Another area that is facing inequality in distribution of wages among men and women is
the ―construction‖ field. It was also brought to the notice of the group that the ―household
work‖ should also be considered as an employment and unless and until it was
recognized as such women‘s valuable time spent in kitchen will not be valued at all.

It is seen that India has no scarcity of legal acts. There is the dowry prohibition act as
well as the ―equal pay for equal work‖ act, but when in reality a lot of obstacle was
created specially on account of politics.

It was also observed that caution should be taken against danger that awaits the waste
management process. Kudumbashree women in Trivandrum and some other local
bodies handle waste directly, collecting them from homes and dumping it somewhere
else. Instead of this a programme of empowerment should be developed in which waste
that collected should be considered as resources from which ―work could be created‖. In
terms of empowerment, women will be the managers or directors of environment ;other
wise there will be a creation of a new class of `waste collectors‘.

In the many projects sprung up as part of women‘s component programmes in
panchayats, the women skilled in traditional occupations are taken away from those
sectors and are provided with loans for rearing the cows etc. In case the loan was
provided for making hollow bricks, the location provided will be inaccessible to water,
transportation facilities or neither of the sort. No training programmes are organized
regarding accounting, management of such units or marketing process. Such basics
training should be provided to such women in centers or units.

Another concern raised was how some Kudumbasree projects were shown as a success
and the manipulations behind this. In a certain panchayat, the women deposit Rs.10
each week and the Bank accumulated Rs.55 lakhs, but instead of using it for
development process there itself, the money will eventually be used to support building
of dams and a variety of anti-developmental activities. The members of Kudumbasree
has done over a period of one and a half years businesses for Rs 1.25 lakh but these
members had money only to repay the debt. Towards the end of the project each of
them got Rs 200, which was projected as a successful group. When kudumbasree
officials visited they were made to believe that these women are drawing Rs.2000 per
month as gained share. The concerned panchayat is regarded as the model panchyat,
which managed to eradicate poverty because of the development and growth of this so
called successful project!

The group expressed concern over the multiplication of Self-help groups all over Kerala
and the focus merely on savings, credit and income generation. While everyone
welcomed the fact that this has brought women out of their homes into public spaces,
the concern was the subsequent indebtedness, which may result because women will
not be able to pay back the loans, which mostly go, for consumption expenditures or for
dowry and related expenses. There were doubts raised about the sustainability of the
programme and complete lack of gender awareness and linking up of the groups to
specific gender issues of domestic violence, sexual atrocities etc. It is high time a study
is undertaken to understand the dynamics of the ‗new model‘ from a gender perspective.

Day – 2

24th March, 2004

Chair : Ms T.Radhamony

Paper 1 - The Eroding Resource Base of Kerala
                                                      Dr M.K.Prasad

The UNCED Agenda 21 in 1992 told us that ―the humanity stands at a defining
moment in history. We are confronted with
      ~ a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations,
      ~ a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy,
      ~ continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our
Integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to
them will lead to the fulfillment of basic needs, improvement of living standards
for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous

Ecosystem is another expression for life-support systems. By life-support system
we mean essential ecological processes. Essential ecological processes are
those processes which are essential for food production, health and other
aspects of human survival and sustainable development. The maintenance of
such processes and systems is vital for all societies regardless of their stage of

Many archaeological relics testify to the consequences of not doing so. Today
the most important and most threatened life-support systems are:
                     ~ agricultural systems
                 ~ forest systems
                 ~ coastal and freshwater systems
We have to examine the status of these systems to understand the significance
of eroding resource base of Kerala        .

Agricultural systems

    (1) Land degradation:
             Soil erosion                       9.52 lakh ha
             Degraded forests                   0.76 ,,
             Semi stream bank erosion           1.00 ,,
             Land slides                        1.00 ,,
             Sea erosion                         0.50 ,,
             Water logging & salinity           0.76 ,,
The indiscriminate and unscientific soil and   water management have made a
major portion of land to be erosion prone.

Soil loss: In Kerala soil erosion has been estimated to be 16.35 tons/ha (ICAR).
Soil erosion has affected 9.52 lakh ha of croplands and 1.00 lakh ha of stream-

High erosion rates have resulted in the sedimentation of river banks, siltation of
drainage channels, irrigation canals and reservoirs. In Kerala reduction in storage
capacity of various reservoirs range from 4.18% in Pampa to 31.90%
Aanayirankal reservoir.

Mining and quarrying:

To mention a few examples,16 MT of sand is being mined per day from 8
panchayats in Neyyar river basin. There are 320 mining locations in Periyar river
basin itself. Each day in Kerala 8372 cubic metre sand is removed from rivers.
This has a drastic impact on the availability of water in the tanks and wells on
either banks of the river. Many fish fauna and other aquatic organisms are
affected. Aggravated saltwater intrusion into rivers is another impact.

Clay mining from paddy fields:

This is a wide spread phenomenon in all districts. One estimate shows 20% of
paddy fields in Neyyar basin is lost due to mining of clay.

Decline in cropland over years:

Kerala had cropped area of 30.42 lakh have in 1997 which has reduced to 30.30
lakh have in 2003. This has happened in paddy, pulses, sugarcane, ginger,
turmeric, cardamom, cashew, tapioca, sesame and tea lands.

Forest systems

Forest cover includes all lands more than 1 ha with a tree canopy density of more
than 10% including non-forest areas. According to the Kerala State Economic
Review (2003) forest area in Kerala is 11263.88 sq km, ie.28, 94% of the
geographic area, but effective area is 9400 sq km. The break up of the same is
as follows:

                      Tropical wet evergreen                     3299 sq km
                      Tropical moist deciduous                   4100 sq km
                      Tropical dry deciduous                      100 sq km
                      Mountain sub tropical temperate sholas        70 sq km
                      Plantation                                 1810 sq km
                      Grassland                                     21 sq km
There has been decline in the quantity of forest produce in kerala over the years.

        Item                     During 1993-94              During 2001-02
  Timber (round logs)                78691 CuM                 38915.4 CuM
  Timber (round poles)               725231 nos                245254 nos
  Firewood                            33450 MT                  11182 MT
  Reeds                           64.7 crores nos             32.6 crores nos
  Bamboos                         18.1 lakh nos               13.0 lakh nos

Degraded forests in Kerala amounts to 1.88 lakh ha. Encroachments continue.
Fire destroys considerable areas of forests every year, exclusively due to neglect
of the Forest Department. Area lost this year is 9112 ha according to the
statement made by the minister!

 Erosion of forest resources has serious consequences. The ―Goods and
Services‖ rendered by the forest get affected. Encroachments change the nature
of the system. Deforestation leads to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, flash floods
and depletion of groundwater resources. Villagers living in the forest fringe areas
are deprived of the biomass they collect from forests. Women are mostly affected
in this case. Encroachers drive the forest-dwelling tribals out of their habitats.
Destruction of forests or its change affects wildlife. Destruction of croplands by
wild animals and the consequent man-animal conflicts are results of this.

Two main pressures on vegetative cover are:
    ~Need for fuel and
    ~Need for fodder.

Kerala uses 70-80 lakh tons of wood for fuel per year. Though firewood
requirement does not directly cause deforestation, 70% of firewood comes from
forests. Kerala supports     24.9 lakh cattle population. But we have no
pasturelands, and hence major part of fodder resource is forests.

Coastal and Freshwater systems.

This is constituted by the coastal wetlands and shallows. They provide food and
shelter for fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, waterfowls etc. They are important for
coastal protection. Freshwater wetlands and flood plains support inland fisheries.

Destruction of these systems threatens habitats of many aquatic animals. The
causes are industrial and agricultural pollution, construction of dams, siltation
from eroded uplands, filling up to provide sites for industry, housing, recreation,
airports, farmlands etc. and cutting mangroves for fuel.

The biodiversity of our sea and inland waters are affected, another instance of
erosion of resource base which support lives of millions of people. Marine fish
resources include more than 300 different species, of which 40 species are
commercially important. According to Dr. Madhusoodana Kurup (CUSAT) many
of these species are threatened of extinction.

Fish harvest appears to be in the increase over the years, revealed as under:
                   2000-01      566571 MT
                   2000-02      593783,
                   2000-03      603286,
But these data are not indicative of any real increase in the fish resource. The
increase is the result of using more fishing crafts! Kerala is endowed with about
3.78 lakh ha of inland waters, which include
                     0.85 lakh ha of Rivers
                     0.30 ,,    ,, Reservoirs
                     0.25 ,,    ,, Ponds & tanks
                     2.43 ,,    ,, Backwaters.
The inland fish production is about 11.06% of total fish production of the state.
But this is exclusively of backwater harvests. No data is available of inland
freshwater harvests. There are 222 fishing villages in the marine sector and 113
in the inland sector. Their population is 8.36 lakhs and 2.49 lakhs respectively.
The continued erosion or depletion of these resources is affecting the livelihoods
of these people. The timely agitations of the fish-workers against use of
mechanized trawlers, indiscriminate catching etc. and for total prohibition of
trawling during the monsoon have gone a long way in conservation of fishery
resources of our state to a certain extent.

Water Resources

 Kerala is blessed with two predominant rainy seasons caused by Southwest and
Northeast monsoons. The average rainfall is 3000 mm/year- 60% obtained
during SW monsoon, 25% during NE monsoon, 15% during summer months.
The state loses 40% of rainwater through run-off.

Surface water resources:

The total run-off of the rivers is 77900 mill.cub.mtr. The total utilizable yield is
42700 mill.cub.mtr. But our requirement is 48600 mill.cub.mtr. Thus we have a
shortage of 5800 mill.cub.mtr. 60% of people use water in their households for
drinking. Kerala has 45,00000 sanitary wells, a world record of 150 wells per
sq.km. 72.2% villagers do not have access to water supply. 14% of those who
get partial supply get only 10 lit. per head per day(lpcd). In
Municipalities/Corporations supply is only 70 lpcd against 200 lpcd entitlement.
Piped water is still a dream for the majority of people. Supply of drinking water to
people is a statutory obligation of the government/local bodies. Reasonable
demands cannot be met because resources are depleting, not forgetting increase
in population. The reasons for depletion of surface water resources are obvious.
Uncontrolled river sand mining, reclamation, fragmenting rivers by constructing
dams, deforestation of catchment areas and over- withdrawal are some of the
major reasons.

The partnership between women and environment is shown in its real dimension
in relation to water. Rural women spend an important part of their time fetching
water needed by their community i.e for drinking, cooking, cleaning, caring of
children and the elderly and washing cloths. Therefore women are directly
concerned with anything negative altering the quantity and quality of water.

Groundwater resources:

Our groundwater resources are largely concentrated in the sedimentary aquifers
of the coastal regions. Kerala has a replenishable groundwater resource of 6840
mill.cub.mtr. The net groundwater availability is 6229 mill.cub.mtr. distributed as:

15 Blocks of our state in Trivandrum, Kasargod, Thrissur fall under over-
exploited, Cannur, Trivandrum, Quilon & Calicut            are critically exploited.
Ernakulam, Thrissur, Calicut and Trivandrum are semi critically exploited. Over-
exploitation especially by motorised pumping in the coastal regions lead to
salinisation, and in mid and uplands lead to total depletion.

The root causes of erosion of resources may be identified as:
               ~ Model of development,
           ~ Increasing consumption of ‗goods and services‘,
           ~ Erosion of customary rights and management systems,
           ~ Increasing social, political and economic inequities,
           ~ Change in ethical, cultural and moral values, and
           ~ Inappropriate, inflexible, weak and contradictory laws and politics.

Discussions on session
The discussant for the session Ms.Usha from Thanal shared some of her concerns. She
began the discussion by focusing on the effects of recent changes in Kerala as a result
of industrialization, multiplication of construction work and misuse of water and other
resources. Life support systems are misused for the purpose of income generation. .
Small business ventures have been displaced.

It was observed that tourism industry has brought environment degradation as is seen
in the backwaters of Kuttand. The house boats indiscriminately use plastic and discard it
in the water. Lot of other waste also is seen deposited in the backwaters.

 Another observation was that in a growth oriented development paradigm, growth itself
is needs to be questioned. A question arose as to who is responsible for preserving life-
supporting system? Another important point raised was about the proposed access
controlled Express High Way in Kerala. It was clear that the new scheme of Express
High Way is going to destroy the primary resource base of Kerala and will create severe
drainage problems. The proposal is to build 7-meter high, 100-meter wide super
highway. It will be like a big wall cutting across the narrow landmass of the small state.
Various issues arising out of this was discussed. The need to have a mass campaign to
protest against it is strongly put forward.

Regarding the issue related to tourism Dr. M.K.Prasad said that this does not follow the
guidelines, which gives consideration for the protection of environment. There are rules
prepared for Panchayats (Block Panchayats, Zillah Panchayats) and for Corporations to
manage the resources and environment. People have the responsibility to take care of it
and this authority is given to us through the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments.
Our anger and stubbornness should be expressed constantly

Paper 2 – Food Security and Livelihoods in the context of
Paper presented by Shri T.P.Kunhikannan.

Kerala is well known for its capability to lead a better social life at a low cost.
Organized interventions for bringing about food security and improve livelihood
conditions contributed a great deal to increase the qualities of life of people. For
the last 2 decades the State and its social life had been faced with a varieties of
problems. And in 1990 with the strengthening of Globalization the problems have
intensified and many other new kinds of social and economic problems are
emerged. All together the Keralites are faced with new challenges. What are
those challenges? Will we be possible to rise above those challenges? Or is
there any need to challenge those situations? On the other hand, is it enough
that adjusts to those neo- liberal policies? Here is an attempt to confront those

Topics are divided into 5 categories

1.Life experiences of Kerala.
2.Interventions in the field of food security and lively hood modes.
3.Globalisation and its challenges.
4.Newly emerging consequences.
5.Ways and means to face the problems.

Life experiences of Kerala: - The numerous changes in the social life and political
structures of Kerala are well known. The social and political changes in the state
have been slowly brought about by the social reforms, nationalist movements,
and freedom struggles, agitations among the labourers and peasantry groups
and the work of the communist party. This movement had created a powerful
political awareness among the people that resulted in people‘s pressure for their
rights. The governments responded positively to this. As a result systems of
education, public health, and public distribution were put in place. Kerala‘s life
experiences were energized by the privileges like public rationing, medical
treatments, land reform movements, agitations etc to obtain minimum coolie. A
special development model was emerging due to left political approaches and
popular interventions. Even when Kerala lagged behind in its per capita income
and economic development, in its human development indicators and quality of
life indicators, Kerala had secured the first place (See table 1). This is the
peculiarity of this model. Food security measures and the lively hood options had
played a great role in this.

Food security and lively hood :- Food security doesn‘t mean the absence of
hunger alone. It means the possibility and ability to lead a healthy and active life.
It is a state of existence to secure food and ensure that people have the ability to
buy food and nutrition. Increases in the food production do not secure food
security. It is equally important to make sure that people have the purchasing
power to buy the food. Thus food security and livelihood conditions are
interrelated to each other
Livelihood conditions ensures social security and work security. Hence
strengthening of occupation, education to acquire it, health to do the work,
making sure of the minimum coolie, housing facilities, tenancy rights etc. to that
extend, food security also will be sustained.
Government‘s interventions were very important to acquire food security and
these were in 2 ways. Growth oriented process and supportive structures. The
first one is related to agricultural activities that facilitate the economic growth,
associated development programmes, people‘s participation, in development
process increasing the strength of people‘s involvement, meeting the basic
needs etc. And the 2nd is the public distribution of commodities to the people as
much as possible, food subsidy, availability of nourished food, food for the work
These two together constructed Kerala‘s food security system. As a part of this
the contracted rationing, distribution of other necessities through civil supply

corporations, ICDS, subsidies, food for the work, increased job opportunities
among the rural people, pensions that supported land reforms, decentralization
etc complimented each other to quicken the food security and lively hood
measures. Occupational security is a must to ensure the food security. Along
with the above stated ones different types of social securities also been
necessary and all these three together make the life security possible. That was
the foundation of the quality of life of people in Kerala. Equality and social justice
were the special gains only cause for the prosperity of its people.

      The Globalization: - It is a imperial political process that got strengthened
      during the year 1990.At this juncture Government retreated from social
      welfare sector activities, Profit motivated market dominated in the fields of
      health, education, rationings, civil supply etc, (Table 2) .As a result the
      income, occupation, production etc are diminished and at the same the
      earlier gained social advantages and prosperities have declined.
      Achievements gained through political participation and worker’s organized
      efforts could not be sustained. Right to organize and struggle has been
      taken away. At this point it became important to protect the existing rights
      and benefits than to fight for the new ones.
Globalization has weakened equality and social justice but also democracy,
sovereignty, secularism, right to organize etc. They believe that money and
market could solve everything. Those who do not possess these are ousted from
the life itself. I t has a double effect. On the one side it brings despair to those
who dream of a middle class life into despair and on the other the poorer are
alienated from all the available work opportunities. The disparity between the rich
and poor is increasing in new forms.

Rationing in Kerala –advantages and disadvantages: - Kerala is a food deficient
area but it has progressed a lot in food security programmes. The reason was
the well- organized public distribution system in Kerala. Rationing in rural areas
was first started in Kerala itself. About 99%of the families own ration cards. The
public distribution system ensures food to every one through out Kerala. One
ration shop exists for every 400-card owner. There is special ration for hostel and
canteens. The ration shop functions on all days except on public holidays. The
people buy food grains in bulk but could be bought according to the available
money. This kind of privileges is seen very special to Kerala alone. The state
stands first in its per capita distribution of food grains through these rationing.
Majority of the people especially the poorer ones depends only on ration for their
food grain needs. The public distribution system has given some indirect benefits
to Kerala like food security, nutrition, health protection, advancement in
education etc.
In Kerala, the public distribution system grew in the strong foundation and
background of political struggles. After the 2nd world war and when Cholera was
wide spread out through out the country Kerala had agitations for rationing
system. The coir workers‘ movements in Alappuzha and the farmers‗ movements
in Malabar were mainly for public distribution system and against back markets.

One of the first steps of the first ministry was to ensure food security. It is only
due to the political will and involvement that a kind of permanent, lasting, and
lawful rationing system came in to existence from 1965 onwards. With the advent
of the
State Civil Supplies Corporation the public distribution of food items and other
essential commodities got further improved.

As mentioned before Kerala is one of the states that could achieve many gains
as regards food security. This gain had played an important role to lessen the
pathetic conditions of the children and child labour.
There were mainly 4 kinds of interventions under the leadership of the local and
state Governments and people to bring about food security.
            Strengthening of public distribution
            Noon meals aimed at schools.
            ICDS programme.
            Widow and Old age pension (All these have helped to ensure food
The new economic policies were introduced at a time, when even these attempts
were not
Sufficient. Its consequences can be compiled as follows.
     Food subsidy present in the public distribution programme was withdrawn
       and ration was limited. (TPDS). Only BPL-category people had been
       provided with low cost. Rice.
     From 1991 onwards for 10-12 years ration price had been slowly
       increasing. In 1991 it was just a Rest. 3.20.and in 2001 it was raised in to
     There was a cutting short of Social Security Samithies and Welfare
     Banks limited its‘ Preferential loans.

Due to the above reasons ration price increased and ration was decreased to a
great deal. (Table 3,4,5,6,) At the same the Food Corporation at cheaper rates
auctions the stored rice, which has not been spent. Experiences are that
Universal PDS has collapsed wherever targeted PDS was introduced. The
experiences in countries like Mexico, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Zambia, Tunisia, and
Philippines etc shows out that with the mechanically numbered poor alone PDS
cannot be kept active.
The experiences of the approaches of the global phase are the following.

   1. The government withdraws from its primary responsibility to satisfy the
      peoples‘ hunger
   2. The attained general quality of life through rationing had collapsed.
   3. Cutting short of ration subsidies ended up in rise of prices of the rice.
   4. The stagnant unspent rice is exported at a low price.

Collapse of the livelihood systems: - Its failure was seen mostly seen in the
agricultural sector Agricultural productions in Kerala is continuously declining. In
2000-01 it had a fall of 20% where as 2001-02 it was 1% and in 2002-03 it was
4%. The agriculture- price index showed a declining trend (if the present
temporary advantages in the field of coconut, rubber etc were kept aside) and the
expenditure price index is rising. This is demolishing agriculture based economic
structure. . Unemployment among the agricultural labourers and unemployment
in other sectors, reduction in wages etc. is also taking place. These changes
affect women adversely. Imports based on the agreement with the World
Market Organisation are also contributing to the crisis.
The minimum wage system no longer exists in traditional sectors. . Coir sectors
do not even get the half of the agreed wages. The reason is the stopping of the
government aid to the coir co-operative societies. In the cashew sector the
destruction of public sectors has affected the bargaining power in the private
sectors. This has resulted in the absence of employment opportunities. With the
ending of the ‗rebates‘ to the co-operative societies, the handloom sector has
become stagnant. The enforced and planned steps destroyed the traditional
toddy industry and encouraged the foreign liquor industries; hence toddy tapping
is faced with crisis. Due to various reasons the Beedi industries is also in its way
to destruction. For about 2 decades the wage of the fish workers have not
increased. For these reasons the unemployment in Kerala is thrice than that of
India. (See the table 9) Health and education field are completely on privatization
Naturally these circumstances will lead to the increased number of the poor.
The present attempt is to bring about reduction in the number of the poor by
changing the criteria. Based on the ADB conditions the ratio of the poor is
attempted to reduce to 6-7%. As a result the food security programmes and lively
hood measures could be shrink back to only 6-7%of people and it could be the
end of those programmes and this is one of the first learned lessons of the
Globalisation period experiences.
The steps taken by Central Government worsen the above stated situations.
First one is the change made by the Nationalized Banks in its preferential loan
policy. At the same its loan ratio had been lowered and a lot of alteration had
been made in its implications. (See table 8) The agricultural budget is
considerably lowered. Kerala has the privilege to have a government department
for the rural development but the government is in a haste to entrust this
department to some other welfare agencies.
Globalization does not see poverty as a part of the polarization between the
poor-rich. However, its conclusion is that it was due to the ignobleness of the
poor. Thus poverty eradication becomes the responsibility of the poor alone.
Globalization had been creating a separate atmosphere all together. Kerala that
was once distinguished herself in its quality of life indicators is now parallel
becoming first in crimes, alcoholism, violence against women, suicides etc. All
the above together destroyed the acquired advantages.

The liberalization policies and its invasion created many consequences in the
following fields.
     Destruction of the life security policies.
     Lack of faith in democratic process and the increased politicization.
     Democratic Governments made irrelevant.
     Increased vest interestedness of the middles class people.
     Increased criminalisation of the society
Kerala Development model is questioned

The Kerala development model of providing high qualitative life at low cost had
been questioned of its existence itself. This model cannot be sustained at all.
Three causes had been put forward.
    Due to the increased economic crisis in the state, the old Kerala
      development model that gave importance to welfare activities and social
      justice was unable to sustain. It creates a second-generation problem.
    Kerala model is resulting in an irresponsible work culture counter to
      development as well as doing away with individual entrepreneurship. This
      internal contradiction will destroy the Kerala model.
    Globalization is a given reality and we need an economic system that is
      able to compete in the market. The old model is a redundant model in

The above pointed arguments refuse to see that people‘s participation and
resulted advantages were the result of a people centered political activities. In
fact Kerala model has not failed. It was just weakened due to the absence of a
political desire to keep up equilibrium between social justice and equity to
increase production and improve welfare services. So what is needed is to
protect the Kerala model by strengthening the political will that in turn will ensure
social justice For this purpose we need widespread political discussion and
interventions to know the feelings and opinions of general public.

Interventions with focus on the following are essential: -

   1. Strengthen the resistance and struggle of people.
   2. End the diversity among political parties, labour organisations, and
      people‘s movements and strengthen unity.
   3. Boycott multi national products as far as possible; emphasis on locally
      produced goods and its distribution.
   4. By strengthening the micro level democratic institutions.
   5. Democratize self-help groups to create local resistance.
   6. Turn the SHGs in to neighbor hood groups rather than just t BPL groups
      there by       democratization of society and national thinking is facilitated.
   7. To facilitate the above create a mentality blending speech and action
      together in personal life.



                                  Important social index
       Item                        Kerala                  India
   Birth rate /1000               16.0                     27.2
   Death rate/1000                6.4                      9.0
   Child death rate/1000          14.0                     73.0
   Literacy (%)                   90.92                    62.0
   Duration of life (age)
   Woman                          76.1                     65.43
   Man                            60.1                     64.11
   Total                          72.5                     64.8

(Source-Census report 2001)

                            Public Expenditure (% of GSPD)
    Item                                             Year
                                   1981              1991                2001
  Education                        5.22               5.25               3.25
  Health                           2.02               1.49               0.95

 Source-Census report 2002

                                         TABLE 3
                    Food grains availability (India) K.G / Year
                   Year                                   Availability
                  1945-46                                   136.80
                 1991 -92
                2002 - 2003                                 141.50

                           TABLE –4
                   Buying of ration-rice in Kerala (1000 tone)
                 Year                                        Rice
                 1997                                        16.17
                 1998                                        16.30
                 1999                                        13.58
                 2000                                        5.57
                 2001                                        4.61
                 2002                                        3.28
Source-Economic View 2002

    Ration-Retail sail –Price –1 Rupee/ K.G
    Item     Year
             1990        1991     1994     2000       2001     2003
    Rice     3.28        3.72     6.84     12.50     13.20     9.00
    Wheat 2.26           2.56     4.35     9.75        9.75     7.00
    Sugar    5.25        5.56      9.15    12.60     12.60     12.00
    Source – Ration Shops

                                     TABLE –6
                 Difference in Ration sale with the DPDS in Kerala.
    Item          Permitted          Distribution     Permitted after   Distribution
                 Before TPDS         during April        TPDS             during
                                        1999                            April 2001
    Rice           1,40,927           1,18,739          1,44,070          46,178
   Wheat            31,720             21,081            36,274            3,458
   Sugar            11,825             12,016            12.053           11,994
  Kerosene          32,348             32,641            32,348           32,915
                           Source-Ration-Monthly report.

  Changes in Yearly-Per capita Expenditure on Health (Socio-Economic Situation)
     Status               1987                   1996            Changes %
  Extreme poor            54.99                 477.26               6 78
      Poor                42.11                 467.26               1010
  Middle class           126.33                 538.27               326
      Rich               160.80                 569.49               254
   Kerala (In             88.92                 548.86               517
                    Source-Health Transition in Rural Kerala.

                                      TABLE –8
                                 Bank and Rural Loans
             Item                                       Year
                                        199 4                        2002
      Preferential loan               3.64 crore                  2.16 crore.
     accounts (Number)
  Rural Loans (Percentage)              13.9                          13.0
      Agricultural Loan               2.5 Crore                     2 Crore
   Below Rs. 25,000 Rural             5.58 Crore                  3.73 Crore
     Accounts (Number)
  Small Scale Loan and its              I8.30                         5.9
      total percentage

                                     TALBE –9
                           Occupational Growth Rate in India
           Year                        Village                       Town
         1987-1994                      2.03                         3.39
         1994-2000                      0.58                         2.27

1.Centre for Development Studies (1975): Poverty, Unemployment and Development
Policy= A Case study of selected issues with reference to Kerala, (Orient Longman)
2.Government of Kerala (2003): Economic Review: State Planning Board,
3.Kannan K.P (2002): Food Security in Regional Perspective =A view from food deficit
Kerala-Working paper no. 304,CDS, Thiruvananthapuram.
4.Kunhikannan.T.P.(2001) Vishap,Dharidryam,Rationari (Hunger,Poverty,Ration Rice) –
Kerala Shastra Sahithya Parishad-Kozhikode.
5.Raghavan .M. (2003) Agholavalkkaranavum Karshika Meghalayum (Globalisation and
Agricultural Sector)-Kerala Sangamam 2002, Prabhandangal (Literary Composition)-
6.Madhura Swami Nathan (2000): Weakening Welfare; The Public Distribution of Food
in India-Leftword, New Delhi.
7.Ramachandran.V.K.(1996):Kerala‘s Development Achievements- Review-in Jean
Dreaze & Amartya Sen(ed)-Indian Development ;Selected Regional Perspective, OUP-
New Delhi.
8.Ramachandra Nair. (2003): Agolavalkkaranavum Samuhya Parirakshayum
(Globalisation And social Protection)-Kerala Sangamam-2002, Prabhandangal (Literary

Mr.Rony, INFACT, Pala-Discussant

He spoke on the need to clear the concept of food security and its spheres. He
also urged for a critical evaluation of public education, public health, public
distribution, and land reforms and whether it was a growth according of Kerala
situation. For him it was a borrowed development model. In the education field it
was not an education for recognizing our stand. Public distribution could have
been thought of a rationing of our own food resources. The public health was
designed by some one from out to sell their products. The rich and multi cropped
lands were cut into pieces through land reforms.
Rony suggested few alternatives required in our traditional sectors. For example
any person who own 2 cents of land or at least a coconut tree can produce
‗neera‘. Kerala is rich with its bio diversities and is diversified in medicinal plants.
Its each village was self-sufficient and needed to be explored again. In the case
of food Kerala should have a food basket designed after the local needs and
taste of the community. What is needed is food sovereignty not security. Projects
should target children.

2nd discussant : Dr. P.S. Geethakutty.

Impact of globalization on women in agriculture

Globalization and Kerala's Agriculture.

       The experiences of the past eight years of globalization, is enough to
caution how our agriculture scene will be dismally affected through the WTO
regulated global trade and the related issues The WTO regime has widened the
already existing gap in dye economic and political strengths between the
developed and developing countries, and is impacting changes in national
policies and strategies within developing countries, which adversely affect the
low income and resource poor groups. India, being a developing country 'with
more than 80 percentage of its people belonging to the low income and resource
poor groups, is one of the worst hit victims of globalization. It is also specifically
noticed that as a result of the implementation of the Agreement on Agriculture
AOA) 0 the WTA from 1995 onwards, Kerala's agricultural products have
experienced drastic price crash putting the major segment of the rural work force
- small farmers and marginal farmers - into extreme financial crisis, which is
predicted to be of the highest order with the implementation of free market in

Loss of livelihood and food security:

       The inequalities of globalization that are going to be impacted will be
largely through loss of livelihood and food security. No doubt, in a country like
India where women constitute major workers of the agricultural and rural
development sector, the most affected category will be the women in agriculture.

In the context of food security of the households, women's role and contribution
are of major importance as they are responsible for buying or acquiring food,
processing, cooking and distribution among the family members.

        A nation's food security primarily depends on its capability to produce and
distribute food to its population at affordable prices. But on event of globalization
the Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP), export driven demand policies and
liberalization there are diversions of vast areas of food crops to plantations and
aquaculture, which are largely leading to the crisis of food production in the
coming years. This in future will be reversing the trend of relative low price of
staple foods thus affecting the food security at large.

        The introduction of discriminatory system of Targeted Public Distribution
System as part of SAP has already started to exhibit is its impact on the food
security system that existed among the poor through the PDS. The targeting
approach followed through narrow income criterion is highly impractical and turns
to be detrimental, to categorize poor into below and above poverty groups.
Approximately 35 per cent of poor rural households are female headed in the
nation. In other families also apart from income generating work and unpaid
essential work that helps to curtail family expenditure, women have the task of
managing the family food budget. When there are cuts in the expenditure due to
a fall in income or rise in food prices, it becomes the burden of the women to
"make the two ends meet. This will be forcing women for varied adjustment
mechanisms - extra work, cut in individual food share, depending on low quality
food etc. Thus coping with higher prices, higher unemployment and reduced food
availability puts tremendous physical and mental pressure on women to adjust
the family budget and income.

Gender issues of Agriculture:

        Apart from being primarily responsible for food security, women have
serious stakes in agriculture due to their economic contribution as farmers
(women headed farm households), co-farmers of men headed households,
agricultural labourers and farm business entrepreneurs also. But most of the
systems of administration, planning, policymaking, research, extension and
development remain gender blind about the roles and needs of women in

       The major gender issues in agriculture are enlisted and these are
predicted to be aggravated in the emerging crisis of globalization.

1    Women lack ownership of land and farm assets

2    Inaccessibility to credits and monetary inputs

3.   Women lack recognition as farmers

4.   Under valued work and low wages for women

5.   Unskilled and drudgery involved works to be performed by the women

6.   Improved technologies are male oriented and displace women from labour

7    Reluctance to employ women and loss of employment opportunities

8.   Inaccessibility to skill, knowledge and farm resources

9.   Non-memberships in farmer‘s organizations and co-operatives

10. Inaccessibility to market and market information

11. Inaccessibility to extension support services

12. Gender neutral / blind policies and criteria - which deny development
     benefits to women

13. Multiple workload and lack of time

14. Non-recognition in the family and society

15. Sexual harassment

16. Exclusion from social security benefits

17. Change in labour laws, amendments and discriminations

18. Unpaid work and non-recognition of work contributions

Possibilities and Opportunities to Empower Women in Agriculture.

       The Swaimnathan Commission on WTQ Concerns in Agriculture (20Q2) in
Kerala did identify the need to build a sustainable Agricultural Trade Security
System. The Commission has put forth the need of addressing the crisis due to
dye globalization of trade in the spheres of employment and production in Kerala.
The emphasis brought in sustainable livelihood security is to be noticed. This is
meant for providing livelihood security to the rural population by restricting the
import of identified commodities of any region; The 'commission had
recommended to enlarge home trade, pay greater attention to cost and quality for
the home market to encourage mutually beneficial trade relationships and to
enlarge global trade. The report highlights the focus needed on productivity,
quality and value addition revolutions in the scene of agriculture. The
competitiveness of the global market and free trade demand updated and
continuous market intelligence and information communication technology.

Evolving technology for efficient resource use and increased productivity, their
dissemination and adoption among all categories of farmers - both men and
women - is a need. This also calls for caution to keep these technologies as

gender sensitive - to take care of the needs and problems of women in
agriculture and to ensure their livelihood security.

        Competitiveness of product is another area of concern to face the
challenge of global market - our farmers are to be trained to take up the
challenge of quality products. Awareness on phyto sanitary measures and
certifications are to be enforced. The market access among farmers is also
important. One challenge in the export of spices, marine products, coir etc., as
recently proven m the case of fisheries sector, is the need of improving the
capacity of farmers I producers in the area of sanitary and phyto sanitary / quality
measures in production and processing. This demands enlarging domestic and
export market support and infrastructure facilities in these sectors at the field

        Exploring the resource endowments of Kerala is one of the opportunities
for Kerala as Kerala has its own special resources of crop varieties, spices,
medicinal plants and products. Sufficient promotion to conserve, multiply and
utilise these resources should be taken up. Awareness creation on legal issues
of IPR genetic literacy and patenting in agriculture is another area facing the
impact of globalisation.

       In all these areas and actions, women also are stakeholders as women
play key roles in many export-oriented industries like cashew, coir, prawns, tea
etc. There is a need to strengthen their role by paying specific attention to impart
knowledge - skill empowerment and capacity building. The issues of occupational
health hazards of these sectors are also to be focused through appropriate
research and policies for ensuring security for women.


1    Policy' 'advocacy should be there to solve the existing gender issues in the
     scene of agriculture like discriminatory wage rates, land ownership and
     property rights, protective laws and reforms in the labour market,
     memberships in co-operative institutions, domestic labour and accounting of
     work, criteria for social security benefits etc.

2.   Gender sensitive technology development and transfer of technology,
     gender friendly farm support services, farmers' institutions, programmes
     and information service should be brought to promote women also as
     farmers and producers of export commodities.

3.   Capacity building programmes for Women in Agriculture for efficient farm
     production and value addition are to be taken up.

4.   Research on the status of women in agriculture and identified issues should
     be taken up.

5.   Women empowerment programmes like Kudumbasree and Self Help
     Groups, which are engaged in agriculture, should be supported with
     infrastructure, information and market support.

6.   Community grain banks for ensuring local food security are to be set up.

7.   Ban exports of essential food and ensure livelihood security for rural poor.

8.   Revitalise efficient PDS so that real poor are not denied of their right for
     food security.


One of the suggestions was to maintain the living links and the technology should
be life friendly. The dependence on the resources coming from outside will end
up in the dependence on express highway and petroleum. It is now high time to
focus on the uncultivated healthy food that needed no care. There is a need to
connect food security with that of life security. Home trade and export trade
contradict to each other Localized home trade system can prevent globalization
or any other reports or systems. Women had an alternative and traditional
system and the state should be forced to develop food security based on this
methodology. People‘s movement based on this security will sustain. Good
attempts in ICDS that promoted sharing and eating together, distribution of local
food among the anganawadi children were appreciated. There was a suggestion
that `Kerala model at a low cost‘ is to be evaluated because in reality it was not
so. Public Distribution System has caused the destruction of agriculture to some
extend and lessened the breadth of the food basket.

Mr.Kunhikkannan expressed his evaluation on the discussed points. He said that
his presentation was an evaluation of Kerala‘s development and the role played
by the organized interventions and the given securities with in an over all context.
It did not mean that he close his eyes towards its limitations at the macro level.
He firmly retaliated that `Kerala model at a low cost was a living reality‘. De
politicization of society meant an undemocratic approach towards development
issues. Development has got a politics of its own and it is to be sustained.
 Rony suggested an evaluation on each one‘s involved sectors to see the state of
food basket before and now, what was the role of the women before and now
and what is to be done in the future This should lead to a common sharing and
finding up of a alternate model for each community. He supported the idea of
Mr.Kunhikkannan‘s ` community based approach‘ giving importance to the
neighborhood groups and building up of a sustainable relationship

Dr.Geethakutty presented her reviews. According to her agriculture is a bio mass
production making use of the available resources of a place for the subsistence
and lively hood of its people. It could be natural resources or human resources
(human factors both men and women). The interventions or change in
technology or skill or attitude are mainly targeted towards the human actors.

Session 2. Paper 3

Gender equity in health in Kerala: An overview

T. K Sundari Ravindran and Tara Sadasivan

The inter linkages between health and social and economic status have been
known and acknowledged for more than a century now. Mortality data from the
UK, United States and several countries in Europe for the later half of this
century show that there are systematic differences in mortality rates by social
class (1). The relationship between race, gender and health status have also
been observed by many studies (2,3,4, 5). These studies bring home the point
that differences in health status arise not simply as a result of individual
differences in genetic and biological makeup, life styles, exposure to disease
causing organisms and health. It would appear that the disadvantages suffered in
opportunities, and in access to resources and power across population groups in
turn translate into differences in risk of exposure and vulnerability to diseases, as
well as in differential access to adequate and appropriate health care. Thus
social class, race and gender are important variables to consider when
examining equity in health.

This paper examines the limited evidence available to discuss gender-equity in
health in Kerala. After a definition of concepts, the paper presents an overview of
data on gender-based differences in health outcomes and in utilization of health
services. It then focuses on women‘s reproductive health status to make the case
that Kerala has a long way to go yet towards achieving gender equity in health.

Equality and equity in health
It may be more appropriate to talk of health equity than of equality in health
outcomes. Equality is the state of being the same, whereas equity implies
fairness and justice. This is because there are often differences in health status
between individuals for a number of reasons, many of these random or
biological. One example is differences in health status by age. It may therefore
not be possible to achieve ‗equality‘ in health outcomes.

Inequity in health refers to differences in health outcomes that are ‗avoidable‘ and
‗unfair‘. This is usually defined as differences in health outcomes arising from
differences in opportunity which result in unequal life chances, unequal access to
health services and nutritious food, adequate housing, unequal power to make
decisions concerning one‘s life and well-being and so on. Equity may be seen as
consisting of two components: horizontal equity, and vertical equity. Horizontal

equity refers to the equal treatment of equals. In health, it is often seen as a
matter of service provision, for example, equal access or utilization for equal
need. Vertical equity refers to the unequal (but equitable) treatment of unequal.
For example, this would mean additional services and investment in health for
those with additional health needs.

When discussing gender equity in health, vertical equity may be more relevant to
consider. Women have additional and different kinds of health needs because of
their reproductive biology. When examining whether there is gender equity in
health, the question to be asked is not only whether there are avoidable
‗differences‘ between women and men in health outcomes. It should also be
asked whether there is avoidable mortality, morbidity or disability from sex-
specific health needs such as reproductive health needs for women; and further,
whether these avoidable negative health outcomes result from gender
discrimination, including lack of attention in policies and programmes.

In Kerala, many health indicators favour females

When we compare a number of health indicators for males and females, we find
that many of these favour girls and women as against boys and men.

For example, the life expectancy at birth is 71 for men while it is 75 for women
(6). The infant mortality rate was lower for girls (16.6/ 1000) than for boys
(24.7/1000), and so was the child mortality rate: 4.5 for girls and 6.0 for boys (7).
Kerala is one of the few states in India with a sex ratio that favours women: 1058
females per 1000 males according to the Census of India, 2001.

Morbidity indicators in children and adults also show an overall lower prevalence
of morbidity in girls and women. The prevalence of acute respiratory infection
among children under 3 years of age was 25% for boys and 20 % for girls, and
diarrhoea prevalence 15% for boys and 8% for girls, according to data from
NFHS-2 (7). The same survey also shows that among adults, tuberculosis,
jaundice and malaria were more prevalent among men than among women. The
prevalence rate of TB (per 1000 population) was 623 for men and 435 for
women. Jaundice prevalence rates were 662 for men and 402 for women, and
malaria prevalence rates were 69 for males and 43 for females.

Among children under age 3 years, the nutritional status is also better among
girls than among boys, although the differences are not very large. Not only were
boys more likely than girls to be wasted according to the weight for height index
(when considering weight for height, percentage of boys below –3SD* = 1.1 and
girls = 0.3) but also more likely to be severely undernourished. (when considering
weight for age, boys below –3SD = 7.4% and girls=1.8%)(7).

* Children who fall more than 3 Standard Deviation (SD) below the reference
median (median of International Reference Population) are considered to be
severely undernourished.

But several health indicators are also unfavourable

A more detailed examination of the health indicators show that there are also
several indicators those are not in favour of girls and women. For example,
although the infant mortality rate for girls is lower than that for boys, the
advantage is mainly in the neonatal period. At the post neonatal stage, girls had
a higher mortality rate (6 per 1000) than boys (5.1 per 1000) in 2002. This is
worth further investigation, because the post neonatal period is influenced more
by environmental factors as compared to the neonatal period, which is influenced
by genetic factors and skilled attendance at birth. Similarly, Kerala‘s favourable
female sex ratio does not hold for the 0-6 age group. The 0-6 age group has an
adverse sex-ratio of 963 girls for every 1000 boys. This age group is not affected
by out-migration of males, and therefore this adverse sex ratio needs further
examination to ascertain the extent to which sex-selective abortion of the female
foetus may be contributing to this.

When we take into account the nutritional status of children, aneamia is more
prevalent among girls (46%) than boys (42%) in the age group 6-35 months.

Among adults, prevalence of morbidity is higher among women than in men for
several specific conditions. A community survey on household morbidity and
expenditure was done in 12% of the households chosen from amongst the
selected 12% of the panchayats in Kerala in1996. This study of the households
documenting (8) changes in the health status of Kerala during 1987-1997
reported a higher rate of acute morbidity among women (131.8 per 1000) than
among men (124.8 per 1000)

NFHS-2 data show that more women than men suffered from asthma in both
urban and rural areas. The prevalence rate of asthma per 100,000 usual
household residents was 3770 for males and 4025 for females in urban areas
and 4966 for males and 5195 for females in rural areas.

A study on the prevalence of hypertension and its correlates in elderly
(individuals above the age of 60 years) doing a rural urban comparison in
Trivandrum district (9) found the prevalence of hypertension to be 63.1% for
women and 60% for men. Gender differentials were not significant in the urban
population (69.8% for men and 68.1% for women), but very significant in the rural
population (49.4% for men and 58.3% for women).

A community-based study of 1094 households with a population of 5284 was
conducted in rural Kerala in 1995(10). This study found that more women than

men suffered from all kinds of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia,
affective disorders and organic psychoses except mental retardation, with the
differences statistically significant in the age group above 60 years.

Table 1: Prevalence of psychiatric disorders according to age and sex (1995)
       Prevalence per 1000 female / male population
Nature of psychiatric Female                            Male
Mental retardation            2.68                      2.99
Convulsive disorder           6.13                      4.11
Schizophrenia                 4.22                      2.99
Affective disorder            3.83                      2.24
Organic psychosis             1.53                      0.37
14                            8.60                      6.99
15-29                         15.24                     11.85
30-44                         17.34                     16.56
45-49                         16.76                     15.38
60 and above                  36.91a                    11.32
All ages                      16.87                     12.34

Source: Ref (10)

There is limited information on gender differences in utilization of heath services.
There are some indications that while overall there are no major differentials by
gender, in specific instances, girls and women may be at a disadvantage. One
instance is among children suffering from acute respiratory infection (ARI) as
documented by the NFHS-2. It was found that a greater proportion of boys with
ARI (87%) are taken to a health facility as compared to girls with ARI (77%) (7)

A 2000 study of tuberculosis treatment seeking in Trivandrum (11) found that
only 19% of treatment seekers were women, although NFHS-2 reported that 25%
of all persons with TB in Kerala were women (7). Ninan‘ study also indicated a
potentially greater stigma associated with the disease for women. The proportion
of men who sent others to collect medicines on their behalf was 30% while 59%
of the women patients sent others to collect medicines on their behalf, even
though the patients were supposed to be under Directly Observed Therapy

In another study based in District Tuberculosis Centre, Kollam, (12), provider
delay was significantly higher for women (an additional 4 weeks) than men
among patients seeking TB care.

Reproductive health : an impressive record on the surface, but all is not
We now turn to examine in greater detail the reproductive health situation in
Kerala, to ascertain whether women‘s additional health needs arising from their
reproductive biology are being met adequately for all women.

Kerala‘s reproductive health indicators are known to be impressive. The total
fertility rate was 1.96 according to NFHS-2 and it was 1.8 according to Sample
Registration System data for 2001, the lowest TFR in the country. The
contraceptive prevalence rate was very high at 64% of currently married women
in the age group 15-49 using some method of contraception in 1998-99. Almost
all currently married women (99 %) knew about female sterilization and 94%
knew about male sterilization. Other methods of contraception like the pill, IUD
and condoms were also well known (pill=90%,IUD=89%,condom=92%). About
93% of all deliveries took place in a health facility/institution(36.3% in a public
health facility, 2.9% in a facility un by NGO/trust, and 53.7% in private) and 99%
women had received antenatal check-ups. Only 23% of women suffered from
anaemia and the vast majority of these had mild anaemia (20%). (7)

There is however, cause for serious concern on many fronts. The maternal
mortality ratio of Kerala, although among the lowest in India, is not as low as one
would expect, given the very high proportion of institutional deliveries.

The maternal mortality ratio from a study based in Trivandrum‘s teaching hospital
was 125 per 100,000 in 1998 (13). The SRS figure for the same year was 198
per 100,000.

Table 2 below compares the maternal mortality ratios across medium and low-
income countries with a high proportion of skilled attendance at delivery. It is
clear that even if we take the lower maternal mortality ratio for Kerala, the figure
does not compare favourably with other countries.

Table 2: Proportion of women receiving skilled attendance at delivery and
maternal mortality ratios in the 1990s, selected countries
                              % of women with skilled MM ratio per 100,000 live
                              attendance at delivery     births
Albania                       99                         55
Cuba                          99                         33
Kerala                        93                         125
Malaysia                      98                         41
Poland                        99                         13
Sri Lanka                     94                         92
 Source : Ref (14,15)
What accounts for Kerala‘s relatively poor performance despite achieving an
impressive institutional delivery rate?

The few studies that give data on causes of maternal deaths point to a significant
proportion of avoidable maternal deaths. Table 3 below shows causes of
maternal deaths in five teaching hospitals in Kerala during 1993-97.

Table 3. Causes of maternal deaths in Kerala , Five teaching hospitals, 1993-97
Causes                    Number                      percent
Direct causes
1.Hemorrhage                     53                          17.10
2.Sepsis                        27                           8.71
3.Hypertensive disorders        73                           23.55
4.Septic abortion              13                            4.19
5.Rupture uterus                7                            2.26
6.Trophoblastic disease          2                           0.65
7.Anaesthetic                    4                           1.29
8.Ectopic pregnancy              1                           0.32
9.Others                        40                           12.90
Indirect causes
1. Acute hepatitis               51                          16.45
2.Cardiac disease               30                           9.68
3.Anemia                          8                          2.58
4.Malaria during pregnancy       1                           0.32
Total                           310                          100

Source: Ref (16)
24 % of all maternal deaths are from hypertensive disorders, 17% from
hemorrhage and almost 9% from sepsis. It may be argued that at least 26% of
these deaths – those from hemorrhage and sepsis – should not have occurred in
institutional deaths, and a significant proportion of death from hypertensive
disorders ought to have been avoided given the high coverage with antenatal
care. Given that there are hardly any home deliveries, the scenario in which
women are kept at home till it is too late to save them is not a likely one.
Something is seriously wrong either with the referral and transportation systems
in the health facilities women initially go to, causing women to arrive in referral
hospitals too late to be saved; alternately the quality of emergency obstetric care
within referral hospitals needs serious scrutiny. Probably both factors contribute
to the high proportion of avoidable maternal deaths in the state, a situation that
should not be allowed to continue.

Unnecessary c-sections

Another appalling finding has been the number of increasing and unnecessary
caesarian sections. If we look at the various studies conducted between 1987
and 1998, we find a rising trend in c-sections. It was 12% in 1987 (17), 14% in
1988-92(18) 21% in 1996 (19) and 29% in 1994-98 (7). A study conducted in the
three corporation areas of Trivandrum, Cochin and Kozhikode in Kerala (20)
shows that c-section rates in these cities was 34%. It further found that 43% of all

deliveries in the private sector was by c-sections while it was 25% in the public
sector health facilities. The study by Mishra and Ramanathan (18) found c-
section rates being significantly higher in the private sector facilities compared to
the public sector.

Undernourished mothers
One in five women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years) are
undernourished and have a Body Mass Index below 18.5 kg/m 2. The prevalence
of undernourishment is lowest in the age group 15-19 (13.5%) but increases
steeply to be the highest in 20-24 age group (27%) and 25-29 age group (25%).
In other words, the age group within which most women go through childbearing
is also the period in which the largest proportion are undernourished. Is there
perhaps a connection between family formation patterns and undernourishment
of women in the peak reproductive age group? To understand this, we need to
go beyond the high contraceptive prevalence rates and look more closely at the
pattern of contraceptive use.

Low use of reversible methods for spacing
There is negligible use of reversible methods of contraception. Although
contraceptive prevalence rate is high in the state and 56% of women or their
husbands used a modern method of contraception in 1998-99, of this only 5.1%
used a reversible method of contraception: 0.4% used pills, 1.6% used IUD and
3.1% used condoms. Female sterilization was used by 49% and male
sterilization, by 3% . (7).

Reproduction squeezed into a short time span
According to NFHS-2 data, the singulate mean age at marriage (which we
assume as equivalent to mean age at cohabitation) for women in Kerala was 20
years, while the median age at sterilization was 26 years (7). Reports from the
Directorate of Health Services also show that the maximum number of tubectomy
is done in the age group 26-29 years (21).

With mean age at cohabitation 20 years and median age of sterilization 26 years
and the low use of reversible methods of contraception, reproduction is squeezed
into a short span of time, ending with female sterilization. Kerala has done poorly
in birth spacing (22,23). Spacing appears to be achieved predominantly through
induced abortions though there is only anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to
this effect. Could this perhaps be related to the higher prevalence of
undernourishment in the age group 20-29 years?

The safe sex message has not hit home
Condom use in Kerala was only 3% in 1998-99. Thus, ‗the safe sex behaviour‘
message seems to have not hit home. This is a matter of very serious concern in
an era of HIV infections. According to data from the sentinel surveillance in ANC
clinics and STD clinics carried out by the Kerala State Aids Control Society, 0.3%
of women had tested positive in the ANC clinics and 4.2% had tested positive in

STD clinics in 2003 (24). In another survey among commercial sex workers,
prevalence of HIV among female sex workers was 3 – 5 % (24). It may not be
very long before the infection rates among low-risk sexual behaviour groups of
women becomes a major issue to contend with. Anecdotal evidence points to
many low-risk behaviour women being infected by their only sexual partner- their
husbands. The low median age at sterilization of 26 years exposes women to an
even higher risk of infection, because once they have been sterilized, it would be
very difficult for them to insist on condom use by their husbands, or for their
husbands to do so without raising a lot of questions about marital fidelity. There
is need to address this issue of safe sex for sterilized couples with urgency.

Substantial burden of reproductive morbidity
Reproductive morbidity among ever-married women in Kerala was reported to be
substantial in many studies. In NFHS-2, 35% of ever-married women reported
any abnormal vaginal discharge or symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Among
currently married women , self-reported reproductive morbidity was 42%. Among
women who reported symptoms of any kind of reproductive or urinary tract
infections, more than half (55%) have not sought any advice or treatment (7).
The pattern is almost similar in urban and rural areas.

This pattern of high reproductive morbidity is confirmed by a study based on
clinical examination. The study covering five Trivandrum panchayats reported
40% prevalence of reproductive morbidity in ever-married women of reproductive
age group (25).

In a community based study on the burden of self reported morbidity and its
correlates among people above the age of forty five years in Kerala (26), 19% of
the women above 45 years of age had undergone surgery for a gyneacological
problem. Nine per cent reported uterine prolapse , 6% reported urinary
incontinence and 5 % reported white discharge per vaginum.

Contraceptive use was found to be significantly associated with reproductive
morbidity in another study carried out in 1999 in the three sub-centre
communities randomly selected from those under the PHC in Pangappara in
Trivandrum district in Kerala. A significant association was found between
contraceptive use and three reproductive health problems, namely menstrual
problems, reproductive tract infections and urinary tract infections. Prevalence of
these three conditions was 57% among users of contraception and only 24%
among non-users of contraception. In particular, 30% of contraceptive users
reported symptoms of reproductive tract infections while only 11% of non-users
of contraceptives reported such symptoms ( 22).

Health care becoming unaffordable
Costs of health care are on an upward spiral and have become a burden
especially for low-income households. In a 2001 study carried out in six rural
panchayats of Trivandrum, the mean cost of delivery in the public sector was

Rs3936, and private sector it was Rs 9987. This study on the expenditure
pattern, perceived quality and financing sources for pregnancy and delivery
services found that borrowing was the main source of financing among 71% of
those from low-income groups, and the mean rate of interest was as high as
47%. About 10% of the total expenditure in the public sector was spent on gifts
and bribes (27).

According to a study on the burden, cause and cost of caesarian sections in
Kerala in 2001 (20), the mean cost of a normal delivery in a government facility
was Rs19071429 and Rs 4559  2336 in private facilities. For caesarian
sections, the mean cost in a public facility was Rs 4044 1917 and in a private
hospital, Rs10613  3238. According to this study, the public spends almost two
and a half crores of rupees as extra cost every year on unjustified c-sections.

Cost of an abortion in private facility ranged form Rs 1266- 1691 for first trimester
abortions to between Rs 4000- 5000 for abortions above 20 weeks gestation

Other studies have also pointed out that there are costs involved for the provision
of services even in the public sector, although these are supposed to be provided
free of cost ( 8,17).

While there are no studies documenting the cost of seeking care for reproductive
morbidity, the fact that 54% of women with a reported reproductive health
problem did not seek any kind of health care (7) may at least in part be due to the
cost of seeking health care.

What is the picture that emerges about gender equity in health in Kerala from the
mosaic of figures from disparate sources pulled together? If gender equity means
unequal treatment of unequals, then the tally is not very good. The extent of
avoidable morbidity and mortality related to reproduction is still very high, and
incompatible with the widespread availability of health care services and near-
universal institutional deliveries. What this implies is the lack of adequate
attention in policies and programmes to reproductive health.

We also find that costs of health care may be making services for chronic
reproductive and other morbidity beyond women‘s access. In addition,
unnecessary medicalisation poses threats to women‘s wellbeing and may lead to
impoverishment of low-income women. There are also some indications of
possible gender biases in access to general health care.

There is a long way to go yet before Kerala can boast of gender equity in health.
A serious barrier to identifying and addressing inequities is the lack of information
on the gender dimensions of health problems. Gathering and tabulating evidence

on gender differences in health in routine data collection by the health services,
and further research on gender differences in all aspects of health and health
care are urgent priorities.

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Discussion based on the paper
During discussions some of the clarifications on comparing maternal mortality
across countries, data on abortion rate, female foeticide, gender imbalance,
privatization of health sectors etc. were done. Cases of unreported cases of
morbidity needed to attend to be. Pesticides resulting in skin infections and
sickness related morbidity rate is also high and taken not of. Mental health data
is not included in the paper. Medicalization of preganancies and of women‘s
body need to be taken seriously. We needed to document the unnecessary
procedures recommended by many private institutions flouting standards set
internationally by the WHO. All of us who are concerned should be involved in
documenting what we are observing. So that we can provide that evidence even
if it is 50 people.

Dr.Joy Elamon added some more points. He said the question of gender equity
in health in Kerala itself is a new question which have never have been
addressed. In many of the studies we have to probe in detail and this has to be
made a major concern for all of us in future regarding health in Kerala. We need
to seek what really is Kerala model of health especially as regards to gender
equity . There are some basic questions to be raised. One is regarding the
privacy in health care settings from OP to Labor room and the attitudes towards

women in such settings and the second is regarding the reproductive health
achievements. How did we achieve that? What was the quality of health care
deliveries in those settings? . The point regarding the maternal mortality rate -the
increase rate of caesarians sections itself would be one factor because normal
deliveries are normal and caesarian section is not normal. And so whether c-
sections added to maternal mortality or morbidity? A third factor is about the
reproductive age group basically but what about the women who passed this
reproductive age group and health conditions they face, their mental condition
and the issues of widows. There is also the reality of women who had the
sterilization and after 3 or 4 years loosing her uterus also.(hysterectomy) Several
such issues need urgent attention of health activists and human rights groups in

Paper 4

Education of Women in Kerala, Major Concerns and Issues .
                                                Dr.P.K.Michael Tharakan

        Viewed from a gender perspective, three major issues seem to confront
Kerala society . They are decreasing Female Work participation Rate ( FWPR) ,
increasing crime rate against women, and a perceived weakening of inheritance
rights for women. All three, require deeper analysis to clearly understand their
dimensions and contours. Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that are all
three are likely to be major problems sooner than later. According to the latest
National Sample survey organisation (NSSO 55th Round), when only about 23
per cent of women were found to be economically active in 1999-00, 55 per cent
of men were found to be so. The Male Work Participation Rate (MWPR) seems
to have increased since 1987 – 88; while the Female work participation rate
(FWRR) remained the same. An increased rate of economic activity for women
would have brought independent earnings, better treatment in the family and
higher decision making roles for them. This does not seem to be happening. The
statistics of the State and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), do indicate
increasing conflict- situations within households. As a result crimes against
women, stress- related violence and suicides seem to be on the increase.
Similarly, though it was believed that Kerala society placed fewer restrictions
against women owning property due to the long and strong tradition of matrilineal
forms of family, there are increasing reports of restraints on female inheritance.
The best known case from Kerala in this respect is that of Syrian Christian
women- of course from a patrilineal group – being denied rightful inheritance if
their fathers die without registering a will.

       All three issues may have different processes working behind them and
various reasons might have caused them to reach their present dimensions. One
among them, which can strongly be linked with all three issues; at least indirectly
if not directly, is the educational process that goes on in Kerala society. An
educated society like Kerala should have better Female Work Participation
Rate‘s(FWPR), less violence against women and a liberal attitude towards
female inheritance. In other words, how come Kerala with total literacy and near
universal primary education fail to produce more economically active women?
What is the meaning of the high quality of life claimed for women of Kerala if they
are increasingly subjected to violence; leading them to a stress full life
culminating even in suicides? How came Kerala with nearby ninety per cent
women‘s literacy failed to produce a society with attitudes liberal enough to allow
female inheritance without restrictions? Apparently there is something wrong with
the quantity of education claimed for Kerala; or there is something amiss with
quality of the educational process or it could be that the social context in which
the educational achievements are claimed; is for a nature that does not lead to
the expected results. Let us discuss it in greater detail.

Education and FWPR
        Even among women of graduate and above category the WPR‘s were as
low as 37 percent for urban areas and 32 per cent for rural areas compared to 87
percent for urban males and 82 percent for rural males. In addition, gender
disparity in levels of educated unemployment has increased between 1987 – 88
and 1999 – 2000. While educated unemployment has declined for men in 1990s,
it has increased for women. In this particular context, women who are unable to
get jobs according to their educational skills and preferences may choose to
remain unemployed. In preferences, at least one study has pointed out that
social status and proximity to home were the most important. A higher proportion
of women in Kerala who report to be housewives do also some other subsidiary
economic work; including tutoring of their own/ others children. Though such
subsidiary work may be fetching them some income; their identification of
themselves as mainly housewives do indicate the domestic nature of their

       What these observations indicate is that however well – educated a
women in Kerala is , she is forced into domesticity in her choice of work by social
circumstances, family expectations and personal preference which can be
greatly influenced by the former two factors. On of the main goals of gender
equity is the reduction in women‘s economic dependence. Therefore, increased
incorporation of women in wage employment may be interpreted as a positive
development. But to achieve gender equity, equality of female and male wages is
crucial. Kerala is still very far from that. But in both rural and urban areas of the
state there are higher casual wage rates. MWPR,s has been increasing too. This
might lead, as Mridul Eapen has already suggested to higher household earnings
which can induce women to ―withdraw into full-time domesticity for significant
parts of the year‖. But it can also increase their vulnerability by increasing their
husbands or other male relatives incomes.

       Apart from this, the gender – based specializations in certain educational
streams may also strengthen such a pattern. Though up to the Metric level there
is hardly any gender disparity; it is found that in other levels, there are
pronounced disparities. For instance; women are found to exceed men in
graduate and post graduate courses in arts and sciences. But they are found to
lag behind men in professional/ technical courses. Women clearly dominate
teaching and nursing professions while they formed less than one third of the
enrolment in engineering colleges in 1997. Similar disparities are found in the
case of enrolments to technical schools, ITIS, ITC‘s and polytechnics.
Interestingly women dominate trades like stenography, dress making. Cutting
and tailoring, secretarial practice and data preparation in the one year course in
ITIs and ITC,s. It means that there is a definite crowding of women into so called
feminine specializations; further strengthening the prevailing social, family and
individual choices in favour of domesticated jobs.

      In other words, the prevailing educational system and process sustain the
apparent vulnerability of women. Such a pattern may be found in educational
systems elsewhere too. As it has been said

Schools are regarded as sites within, and through which, the inter-related power
structures of class and gender operate. Hence schools are seen to prepare
students for their dual locations in the socio-sexual division of labor, the relations
of production , and in the relations of reproduction within the family.
        Therefore, in addition to asking the question how with more than hundred
and fifty years history of modern education, Kerala still lend to domesticate
women, we should also wonder why there is hardly any sign of challenge, within
the system, against such domestication. I wish to propose a hypothesis in
explanation which is very much rooted in the history of educational development
in this region.

        Though much of the credit for the increase in literacy and basic education
in Kerala is generally attributed to the contributions of Christian Missionaries and
successive Governments; it is better explained in terms of a demand driven
process initiated by structural changes, such as agrarian- reforms leading to
commercialization of agriculture in the nineteenth century and to comprehensive
land reforms in the twentieth country. While the first opportunity was converted
into social indicators of development for the middle              level castes and
communities by the Socio-religious Reform Movements (SRRMS) the second
opportunity was transformed for the lower – middle classes by political
Movements (PMS) particularly of the leftist stream. The SRRMS located their
organizational/ mobilisational units at the level of castes/ communities. The PMS
identified their organisational/ mobilisational constituencies at the level of
classes. Neither of these movements had for obvious reasons, a feminist or
ecological/ environmental perspective. As a result, even when these movements
supported women‘s education, it was meant to pursue education along with men
within the prevailing socially approved system of gender-relations. Education was

meant to challenge caste discriminations, for SRRMS, and class contradictions
for PMS.

        The SRRMS reflecting their reformist character were aiming for greater
social mobility, though some of them had the aim of abolition of the caste system.
The PMS also worked mainly towards cornering social and economic indicators
of development to the lower middle and the lowest classes, though sections of
them aimed at abolition of classes altogether. Therefore their activities,
seemingly radical seldom assumed truly revolutionary character. As part of the
reform platform, even educated sections of matrilineal castes/communities
themselves, had argued for social legislation sanctioning a new form of marriage
and family rooted in modern patriarchal relations and very much in conformity
with prevailing colonial practices. The PMS seem to have accepted the new
family structure rather uncritically even in the context of one of the major
legislation for social change in Kerala; that is for comprehensive land reforms. It
should be remembered that it has been said in a similar context that

Without a strong movement among women which will empower them to engage
with and make use of formal structures and legal opportunities that are being put
in place, the broad policy objective of greater gender equality through land reform
is likely to remain stronger at the level of principle than practice.
         In such circumstances , it is understandable why the educational system
demanded for and partly created by the SRRMS and the PMS in its various
forms, was not capable to contradict the conventional specialization of women
into the so called feminine disciplines which is now making them vulnerable. It
should also be recalled that the enveloping social system was already
modernizing on the basis of patriarchical forms of marriage and domestic life and
in that circumstance a challenge to the system from within will not have been
easily allowed.

Domestic violence against Women

       As already mentioned, violence against women in general and crimes
against them emanating from stress – full households seem to be an increase in
Kerala. A survey covering Coimbatore, Vellore and Trivandrum with regard to
crimes against women found no different pattern for Trivandrum, which was
expected to present a variation due to educated population. Put differently
education does not seem to matter in this case, as far as Kerala is concerned.
With low FWRR and growing vulnerability, it could be understood easily, how
they are made to operate from a subordinate position within the family. Since a
major section of women seem to voluntarily accept domestic ‗non-paid‘
occupations, they are knowingly or unknowingly becoming highly dependent
upon their male relatives. In such circumstance, when the household faces a
particularly stress- full situation the women will not only have to bear the brunt of
the stress but also violent outpouring of such stress within the household.

       Since there is the strong tradition of women specializing in a few
―feminine‖ occupations, their choice of jobs is highly restricted. Their choice is
further restricted as mentioned earlier, by social status and proximity to home.
Though women may also accept such restrictions ―voluntarily‖, behind such
impositions the prevailing concept of status for different categories of women are
operating . If a particular woman tries to defy such restrictions, she is likely to be
subjected to severe pressure from within the family itself Zechariah‘s short story
‗Salam America‘ portrays reversal of gender roles in the context of globalization.
But women gainfully employed else where in a profession like Nursing, may be
treated differently within their stem-family operating under ‗false concept‘ of
social status and accepted occupations.

        Kathleen Gough, surveying literacy in traditional Kerala Society observed
that the spread of literacy in medieval Kerala did not result in the spread of
‗logical reasoning‘ as predicted by some literacy experts. What she found was a
higher and more severe use of written texts and codes to impose restrictions and
divisions within society. In the modern period, as we have already seen, it were
the PMS, SRRMS and to a lesser extent the workings of Governments and
Christian Missionaries (at least those who believed in the need of Bible –reading
as part of their evangelization practices) that gave a boost to literacy and basic
education. They also operated within a highly restrictive social context. It was the
first communist government during 1957 – 59 that tried to pilot a fairly
progressive educational Bill. It raised severe opposition, leading to the dismissal
of that state Government by the centre. It was felt by the communist party
leadership that combining land reforms along with educational reforms, as their
Ministry did, caused such opposition. From that period onwards no radical
educational reform was attempted in Kerala, with or without any feminist content.
It goes to show that, like Gough has observed in the case of medieval literacy,
modern education also operated in support of prevailing social hierarchy which
had hardly any chance of resistance to growing violence and restrictions against
women, arising from the field of ideas supported by formal education.

Inheritance Rights

       If SRRMs identified their organizational / mobilization unit as
caste/community, the PMS found the same at the level of classes. It is mainly
through the work of these two types of movements, that the ‗modern‘ Kerala
society was created. Even though the ‗modern‘ Kerala society, evokes
caste/community or class quite often in public discourse, its basic unit of social
organization seems to be the patriarchal nuclear family. Obviously the earlier
extended joint family whether patrilineal or matrilineal – had changed to give
space to the modern nuclear family. This does not mean that this transformation
was complete or total. On the one hand the ‗modern‘ Malayalee tends to trace his
or her identity to an extended joint family traceable to a common ‗Tharavad‘. On
the other he or she is strongly attached to the immediate nuclear family of
Father, Mother, Brother‘s, and sister‘s and sometimes grand parents. These two
types of families operate differently upon individuals. While the extended family

holds images of communality and social discipline, the nuclear family is the realm
in which individual interests are provoked and demands for better performance,
in educational results, cornering well paid jobs and marrying with best dowries
etc. are made.

        Therefore the family remains the space in which, under unequal gender
relations, which have not been sufficiently challenged, the women are expected
to bring sufficient dowry to finance family /individual/male projects. Families of
different communities are aware of the experience of the 1930s when the
matrilineal joint families and their common properties were legally partitioned,
leaving the Thavazhies to sell their holdings mainly partilineal community
members. Such a situation, no family or no community will like to have. It is
interesting to recall the sentiments expressed by Dr. Thomas Kurialacheri,
Bishop and Vicar Apostolic of Changanachery in a letter dated 31st March 1912
to the President of the Christian community. He said that,

According to our custom the unmarried daughter and the widow are entitled to
maintenance only, while the married daughter is entitled to her dowry at the time
of marriage. There was a great anxiety and fear in the minds of the people when
the courts of this country deviating from the custom, lately applied the Indian
Christian Succession Act in certain decisions in the case of the widows. Indeed, it
was this unrest that led to an agitation and to the consequent appointment of the
Christian committee. If the daughters are given share along with their brothers
and the widow is allowed to have any claim whatever except maintenance in the
property of her husband, it would destroy the domestic tranquility, throw open the
flood gates of litigation bringing all sorts of calamities and eventually ruin the

Such fear still persists among all communities even now; and in a situations
uneven gender relations operate adversely to the interests of women. It is not
surprising that in a society in which patriarchy was not questioned at all, family
inheritance is taken to be a space for male oriented capital accumulation, through
dowry and through restricting female inheritance rights. Within the modern formal
educational system in Kerala, which originated and developed within a situation
of compliance of existing social order, no alternative ideas have evolved.


        The three issues identified at the very outset they being decreasing
FWPR, increasing crime rate against women, and declining inheritance rights for
women, seam to be interlinked to each other. In strengthening all three trends,
mainstream educations‘ failure seems to be a major factor. The reason for this
failure is not within the quantity of education but in its quality in the sense that it
failed to generate challenges to the prevailing patriarchal system. For that the

main reason is the general social context in which modern education originated
an disclosed.

[Tentative Versions/Not to be quoted}

Discussion based on the paper

Discussions centered on comparing the old and new system of education. Some
observed that the new system do not promote any kind of a challenge to the
situation but in turn it promotes blind acceptance of every thing. Globalisation
reinforced patriarchal structure and the new curriculum promoted a segregated
atmosphere for women and made them more and more marginalized, resulting in
domestic violence towards women. There were opinions for and against co
education. Women who are more educated and employed faced more violence
as is pointed out in the INCLEN study on domestic violence. As level of
education goes up, dowry also increases.

Both the reform and the political movements were unable to challenge the
prevailing patriarchal system. Thus Kerala model of development itself is
brought into a very serious challenge because it catered only to the requirement
of the middle class. In the new democratic system it has ended up in a situation
where the same people who derived benefits from the earliest space of
development tend toward preventing the people further down to receive the
same. Our educational system remains very conservative due to the reason that
it was not able to develop any new civics concepts or new civic values.

Session 3:

Images of woman in media (Panel)

Ms.Ammu Joseph (chair) Ms.ParvathiDevi & Ms.C.S.Chandrika

1. R. Parvathy Devi was the first speaker. She spoke about all the changes that
are taking place in media specifically in its structure and vision. Media is
considered as the fourth Estate. But now it has turned itself into a huge business
oriented and profit motivated concern. The ‗news‘ is sold as a product through
advertisements or other ways and the readers are its consumers. There is a
strong anti women bias expressed in the media. Women never become news.
Media shows great eagerness to protect the interest of the rich and the
marginalized are very tactfully ignored. Media always explains its stand in the
name of `viewer ship and readership. Along with globalization global media
too came to the scene and women were never in its agenda. She pointed out the
article in a prominent Malayalam daily, of women journalist‘s experience of
traveling through Kerala on the same day. It shows how the mobility of women is

controlled but that article is also a good example of how a news like that can be
sensationalized too.
It was noted that the whole media is politicized. The first page of the newspaper
is allotted to politics and it is a reality that women are not there. Issues related to
women or human rights are edited in the unimportant pages or are avoided.
Some unimportant news are blown out and exaggerated. In media women‘s
images are misinterpreted. It‘s usual projection is a `Goddess‘ (symbol of
sadness) or a `witch‘ (symbol of evil). There is a wrong notion that anything is
possible through jokes and cartoons. There are competition between the print
and electronic media, between channels etc. There is no room for ideas like
secularism, democracy or sovereignty. Advertisements try to convey a message
of anti-labor attitude. The only transformation possible is through creating forums
like media watch, watch group or media monitoring group etc. They will be ready
for any change only if a customer stop buying newspaper.

2nd speaker . Market, Security & Media

                                   C.S. Chandrika

Communication and dissemination of knowledge are essential elements of social
development. Newspapers and other audio-visual media originate in our society
as communication tools based on development. These influence and affect the
life styles, attitudes and values of people. Media play a substantial role in
changing the value system, creating new meanings and turn around the
acceptability and non-acceptability of matters. The media which effectively can
play these roles yet appear before us as a double edged sword.

      Each society uses images and symbols appropriate to their environment
for communication. The categories and imageries labelled as ‗collective
representation‘ by social scientists are used to produce, mark, keep and
preserve attitudes, culture and information. Thus social life is mainly created
around this representations. That way they direct our character and thoughts.

Women's image in media

        The relationship of women and media is always dialectical. The basic
reason in that the ownership of media and that of the market is with the
monopoly capital and patriarchal forces. Within this, women were represented in
traditional ways; in ways that women do not have any right and power in society,
its economic structure and culture.

The traditional women:

        It is a know fact that a woman in India faces discrimination even when she
is in her mothers womb. If she is not aborted and is allowed to be born, she can
live as a second-class citizen. Traditional beliefs, customs, prejudices, social

theories are all against her. It exploits her or ignores her. As soon as she is born,
she is an economic burden and a social liability. Her existence is then centered
on her ability to attract a man and marry and nurture a family. To attract, she
needs bodily and facial beauty. Her young body and sexuality is the key to this.
Girls receive training to keep themselves beautiful and attractive. Media today
becomes a powerful tool in this training process and they tighten their hold on
women in this way.

       Through their features, reports and programmes media is not only
constantly reflecting the social values, characters and attitudes but also distort
the identities of women. For this, the media uses the following clichés.

          Women's space in her home

          Women do not take major decisions

          Women are depends and needs men's protection

          Women are sex objects for men-delicate, beautiful, without personality

Reflecting are the above, you see the following gender stereotypes

                     Man           Women

                     Active        passive

                     Mind          body

                     Rationale     emotional

                     Thinking      feeling

                     Strength      weakness

                     Strong        tender

       These stereotypes are not biological but are created according to the
cultural and social conditioning of men and women.

The new women

        The role of media is modernizing the traditional society and its men and
women are significant. In the modern word, the new women are not suited to the
traditional role models. In a male dominated society she wants to establish her
personal and economic identity. She shares progressive thinking and is

conscious of her social and political rights and responsibilities; she steps out of
her household to get educated and to work.

       Yet, the media still have the stereotypes of housewife, mother, victim,
decretive object, romantic love, sexual object etc. Only certain changes and
adaptations have been made! But there is a strong relationship between these
changes in stereotypes and the changes in the media in 90's as also in the
social, economic and political fields. This is directly related to the process of
economic liberalization and globalization.

       In India, the globalization of media (especially of satellite, cable TV)
resulted in increased consumerism. Globalization, as we know is a useful
economic system for the first world. It leads the workers, marginalized sections
like adivasis, dalits, minorities and women to more poverty, exploitation and
death; such globalization is actually selling the global capitalist culture through

      In, 1991, with globalization of India media, CNN came in and brought
major changes. Today we can sit in our living room and view about 100 foreign
channels. This global culture is facilitated also by the Information and computer
technology. Instead of the diverse and special cultures, we are speeding towards
a market-oriented monoculture.

      Media is fast changing the Indian women also from the role of the
housewife, house manager to that of a major consumer, eager to buy and
consume the goods from the market. The traditional status of women was one
who cooks; washes bucket full of clothes; serves the husband and children;
without creating knowledge or wealth; all the time being dependent on the man
and buying things. But the new woman is a working women who has purchasing
power and is able to define her status in the new world social order and is a
prominent consumer.

       Traditionally women had to spend her life within the house without
knowing the happening in the outside word and without any possibility for work
outside. Men were the consumers for the entire household. Hence the focus of
market was men. In the last 40 years, women had the possibility for getting
educated and to work outside. This has enabled at least some women to gain
economic independence. With this market started to focus on women. In Indian
market, all the focus now is on women consumers. Women work and earn and
buy all the things necessary for her, husband and children.

        The reality of marketing of the media today is through advertisements. If
we carefully watch the popularity of women‘s magazine, we realize that they are
mostly popular in Indian cities. We used to view the print media as cultural
institutions, which gave knowledge and education. The growth of print media
here was like imaging the Independence struggle. In 1959, it was under the All
India radio (AIR), that television broadcast started. The aim was to develop

educational, development and recreational programs. The independent
objectives and goal, which Doordarsan had when it was made an independent
media in 1976, is no more the case today.

         It is only after the emergence of the women‘s movement that the women‘s
magazines have started appearing in the present form in the Indian market.
Today they are reaching to women cutting across caste, class, and religious
affiliations in rural and urban India, as a backlash to the feminist ideology and
movements. Through well-designed advertisements using ad- agencies they are
able to influence the readers to a consumer culture, life styles and philosophy.
Through their cover pages, women‘s magazines are able to advertise their
contents in the market. They are ‗for women only‘ whether it is Femina or Vanith
or Womens era or The New woman.


       The stereotypes being used in media about sexuality is of two types:- one
is ideal and total; through success and beauty creating admiration of jealously in
all ! These are men. The other is caricature; over simplified. It is for fun or
recreation; to satisfy the viewers. There are women.

         Men decides; they stay in positions of power and becomes heroes who
subjugates. Women are selling sexual bodies, the homemaker, without functional
brains! These stereotypes are used to maintain the unequal gender relations in
our socio-economic system. In reality, it is not women‘s body of the femininity
that is the problem. The real issue is the structure of male power and it attitudes.
It is the attitude, which is reflected in naturalizing the atrocities and exploitation of
women. It refuses to see women as complete human beings who have rights and
powers. If such role models are created and sustained at all times, women can
be, through family and social pressures made protectors of traditional cultures;
can be made victims of dowry; keep on attacking and victimizing… (The recent
statistics of World Health Organization says that in every 54 minutes a woman is
raped in India)

        The advertisement in media contributes a great extend to show women as
sex symbols. Women‘s body is used to sell products ranging from cosmetics,
textiles, jewellary, household things, vehicle etc. Decorated women models are
passive and inactive. Their primary and important task is to show the products
and create sexual attraction; like the role of mannequins in show case! The
sexual image of women outside the home is to inebriate men and within the
home to be oppressed by household tasks. In both places, she gets the feminine
roles, which has the least potentials and is oppressive. The most important
calamity faced by Indian woman is to surrender her to the power of the husband
in the traditional feudal family structure and in society outside to be exploited by
the capitalist consumerist exploitation.

        Advertisements use male body too. The billboard male image used in
adds of cell phone, Computer, men‘s underwear etc are of muscular power, soft
gaze, clear skin, firm jaw bones, sexually arousing lips etc. It is a combination of
hardness and softness and a special mix of the traditional hard muscularity and
the new age soft masculinity. The macho image is changing slowly. It is not just
hard, muscular body of the Mr.Universe of past but has to have beauty,
intelligence, strong body language which arouses passions.

      New Stereotypes of male beauty and sexuality are getting stronger now.
Such images are the need of the market today. The real power fixed macho
image (His women, His whisky) where women had no purchasing power is no
more valid now. When women have considerable purchasing power of their own,
male models are used as magnets to attract. The marketing strategy of the new
market is that the male models also said have the same ‗sex appeal‘ as women
models used to have.

       This new trend, which was seen in the India media since 1990‘s, created
multiple identities of women and try to change the stereotypes so far existed.
This new woman is the middle class woman who has spending power. These
women are not dependent on men. Men do not apparently exercise their
domination as in olden time. These women are employed and their freedom is
celebrated in the consumerism of the modern age.


       Nudity existed in the media but not as openly as it exists now. Open nudity
presently is equal to the commodity in the open market. It is in the form of the
product which can be owned and which gives satisfaction and pleasure. The
media through many sponsored programmes come to compete in the market
with advertisements fall of sexuality. Companies use famous models for this
(India has several beauty queens!) Through them, elegantly and with
sophistication, nudity is sold. Since this is directly related to sexuality, the men
and women who view this, compare themselves to these models and go behind
the consumer products.

       Do we get sexual arousal when we brush with Colgate paste or breath
mints! Yet the Ad. Companies use the body, its nudity, action, sound which is
suitable to it and change the human sexuality into a desire for a product and a
stimulation for it. Since there are strong social and moral controls, the sexuality is
kept in control, to take out when there is an opportunity.

       In this globalized economy, the desire for sexuality is a commodity to
make profit. In the third world countries, which are facing extreme poverty and
unemployment, the sex industry is booming. Along with this child prostitution, sex
tourism, trafficking, child sexual abuse etc are also growing strong.

        The villages and cities of our country are completely turned into a market
of the imperialist capitalism. The Euro-American countries have, through their
media sold India as their market especially for cosmetics and fashion industry.
This tendency is so prominent in our visual media now. The media is helping the
privatization and globalization and control of our markets by multinationals.

       Media is a strong powerful means to execute the profit oriented and
exploitative market conditions of capitalism in India. Media is transforming the
interests of capital into ‗realities‘ for people. Because media is the cultural form
which can give messages most efficiently. Media can control human beings and
determine their thinking regarding their worldview, experiences, approaches,
interpretations, family and cultural backgrounds etc.

The participants shared some of their observations. Programmes related to
women and their problems (for example against dowry) may be shown but might
have been sponsored by Bhima Jewellers!. Advertisements are mainly focused
upon making women fair and beautiful. The media keep the real issues of women
out. A lot of images of women are projected . First one is as a commodity and
the second is as carriers of symbols and religion. Women are forced to become
carries of so called traditional culture (for example `tharavattamma‘).

The discussion then moved to how media looked at Kerala‘s development
problems. No platform exists for women to express their opinions. Pollution is
an after effect of a culture of consumerism promoted by the media and media is
seen speaking about pollution.
          When the newspapers from 1997- 2002 are reviewed for news on the
child-sexual abuses, it was seen that they were considered as sensational
stories and are not analytical at all. Only Leela Menon in Indian express had an
article on what are the consequences of child sexual abuses. Whether it is on
women issues or anything else, no process is reported. Pictures that adolescents
absorb from media about women are distorted impressions on sexuality
           There is an upsurge of so called ‗yellow journals‘ and even the
newspapers have become agents in exaggerating events and converting them
into distorted stories keeping aloof the person concerned from society, home and
friends. Most often there is no objective reporting. Media also is becoming an
embodiment and re- enforcement of a strong social and traditional culture
(making black into white complexion.) Media by means of advertisements foster
caste, religion, and blind beliefs (forecasting of future, even the color of the dress
to wear). Even when lady IPS officers do appear in films, at a point of crisis, she
has to be saved by a lover- a strong male!. Some pointed out that one of the
reason for the increase of violence and problems faced by women are due to the
multiplication of blue films.

Speakers from the Panel made some comments on the audiences‘ reflections.
There are written laws in the country against discriminations on the basis of color

and race. Yet this happens in our country. On one side there are those weakness
but on other side media become a ground for a positive and active participation
and interventions of women. However, due to the scarcity of time the selected
programmes on such important themes with a women‘s perspective are shown
when women are at work.

In this scenario of the multiplication of channels and competitions in newspapers
smart girls do have the chance of getting in to the field. Net working and trainings
could be initiated consciously. There was also a suggestion that we need to
analyze Cinemas in a similar fashion. Media are now extremely market oriented
and profit oriented. One of the advantages behind this is that, it is very sensitive
to the response of the audience. So it is very important to give feed back
especially on things that are anti-women. Media struggle to get audience and
their struggle would be strengthened if the audienceresponds. People in the
media very often feel that they operate in a vacuum because no one reacts to
anything. Media monitoring is one-way of media appreciation, audience
education, and audience watch.

Women‘s movement and progressive thinking movements has a major impact on
people in the media and that in turn has influenced the whole generation of
people. Young journalists wants to do something through the media because
many of them feel that it has an important role to play in discussing gender
issues. We too need to acknowledge that there has been some growth.
Nevertheless, one has to put pressure on media to perform better.

3rd day. 25th March
Session 1:

Rising Tide of Fundamentalism- Panel discussion

Ms.Sugathakumari,Ms.K.Ajitha,Ms.Neena Joseph

Neena Joseph chaired the session. Quoting a definition on fundamentalism she
explained `fundamentalism is nothing but making absolute what is not absolute. It
is negating the validity of everything else‘. As an example she showed the
Thaliban and the massacre of the Buddhist monks. Any ideology that is taken to
the extreme is nothing but fundamentalism.

Ms.Sugathakumari was invited to speak on the subject. She explained how India
is at a great threat of religious blindness, sectarianism, casteism, and
fundamentalism. Even the educated women writers wish to imitate Europe with
so many independent states. . Political parties use religion as a weapon. Before
politics was spiritualized but now spirituality is politicized She reminded everyone
of the Gandhian ideology as a remedy to respect and love the other ones. It is
not tolerance but living together respecting the other culture. `Shanti sangamam‘
organized y her and few others was an attempted effort to prove the above. She
complained that women seem to pretend that they are kind and gentle but in
reality they have become very selfish and self-centered and only bothered about
their own family, children and beauty. She asked why are women silent and

K. Ajitha was the next speaker. She said that in Kerala the growth of
fundamentalism was found only after 1992. Hinduism became a great threat and
India‘s secularism and democracy stood helpless and depressed. She spoke
about the destruction of Babari Masjit and Marad event in Kerala and the political
drama displayed after. She proved how women were made use of by
communalistic forces. Can one face such forces with love or is it a question of
ideology? According to her the deterioration of leftist movement paved the way
for the growth of fundamentalism and she put forward a self-critical approach..
The divide and rule policy initiated by the British rule and its consequences are
still seen in Kashmir issues and why should India is so stubborn to keep it as a

part of India. India certainly had a tendency to dominate over the neighboring
countries before and now and it needed to be questioned. She stressed on the
point that this independency should not allowed on the basis of religion at all. On
one side there is the friction of secular democratic values and social alienation of
rationalist movements and on the other the strengthening of Hindu and Islamic
fundamentalism and women are ideologically conditioned to keep up the morality
And what should be done against it as the women movement is to confront
fundamentalism with ideology.

Neena Joseph summarized both talks and added her own suggestions and
views as followed.

At individual level
Help children to make it a habit to pray for people of other religion, congratulate
them and thank God for them in their economic prosperity.
At school level: -Children could be trained to love, appreciate and share the
spiritual aspect of other religion and they could pray together.
Ideological level: - Women should become capable to scrawl in to the citadel and
barricade of patriarchy, making little cracks in it. For example one who taught
sociology also should switch on to the issues of communalism and gender.

In the open discussion that followed several views were expressed. There was a
question on which approach should be appropriate to fight fundamentalism-
religion-integrated approach, secular approach or a new inpretations with mother
goddess at its apex?
There were discussions on how village inhabitants are now split on the basis of
religion, and culture and also on social, political, and economic base. Male
domination is so powerful that they don‘t allow any other ideas to enter in. Those
who think differently are harassed and victimized. So it is now time to invent an
energy stronger than the prevailing one to save the society from the clutches of
those relationships.

One of the participants shared the whole process of institutionalism of religion,
through which patriarchy took over religion and how female goddesses have
disappeared. Hence what is to be eliminated is the patriarchal institution of
religion. Marriage between state and religion is an inevitable part of politics and
for this purpose religion was institutionalized. What is needed is the expression
of all the diversities, not only in religion but also in all the relationships of life .
And this is what feminism has to bring in today‘s‘ politics and this diversity is the
strength towards building up peace. There is fundamentalism also in the political
field and those who work for democracy in politics are thrown out or isolated.
Capitalist system needed to be challenged

―Whether India have ever been unified?‖ one from the group raised question and
she proved that it was not so.It is always kept together by militarism /might. So
why not have a separate states if that was demanded? (not a state for different

religion). Women have enough of blame upon her and why to put the
responsibility of communal riots upon her, as she had never been the

Sugathakumari tried to clear the doubts. She said in Northeast violence is
caused by the state and extremist terrorists and religion and capitalism is the
only cause behind it. Women are divided among party, NGOs, religion, group etc.
So we should become capable to rise above those.

There were few more contributions from the group. One of the opinions was that
it is impossible to fight against communal riots unless the male centered,
dominated, and institutionalized religion and capitalistic ideology is questioned.
Another one was that the communal issues must be addressed with a macro
perspective. Another side of fundamentalism pointed out by one participant was
that, it is the after effect of a fear felt by a man towards the other men
(ie.homophobia) in the process of controlling women (culture) and earth (nation)
and family was used as a best tool. With few examples one of them proved that
even in global politics numbers do not translate into strength. There is not only
religious and political ideology but also social and cultural ideology ; the
patriarchal ideology combines all of these together, and women are conditioned
so deeply that they are unable to break out from it.

Fundamentalists do not represent fundamental truths of their religion so it is a
need that some other word is used to name them. The contribution of feminism
was the promotion of diversity of all kinds. It was said that politicization and
instrumentalization of religion was for an economic advantage. There should be
an attempt from people‘s level to regain the spirituality and to bring about the
revolutionary aspect of every religion

Ms.Sugathakumari in conclusion said that the existence of organized religion is a
reality at all times. Its pockets are getting strengthened and institutionalized. This
diversity is to be watched upon and this is what `Shanty sangamam‘ has
attempted to communicate. She quoted Gandhiji‘s words that `all religion is for
the existence of humanity, for a civilized society and spirituality is for man‘s
prosperity not for political greed like today. Leaders must be elected not on the
basis of religion but on the basis of sanity. This attempt is to be made by women.
Ajitha in her conclusion added, women are subjected to ideological conditioning
Religion and patriarchy is well connected. Globalization process resulted in
fundamentalism. The challenge for women‘s movement today is to see how to
bring up the secular and democratic values. Neena gave a gist of whole
discussions and wind up the session.

In the concluding session chaired by Aleyamma, Nalini Nayak summarized the 2
days work shop. She started of with the development paradox and the gender
paradox that was found in Kerala. Kerala have achieved high levels of social
developments, which cannot be sustained. These social indexes have not

empowered women. Instead the patriarchal values seemed to be deeply
internalized. It was also seen how access to property and the women ‗s
autonomy was gradually eroded. As a result violence has increased - violence
on women and violence within the family. The decentralized planning process
offered a window of opportunity by bringing so many women in to public sphere.
But here again the women‘s component plan has not made much head way and
it draw poor women into the market through the micro credit schemes. They can
now become the scavengers of the state through kudumbasree waste collecting
scheme!. It was mentioned that the state does not protect the livelyhood of the
workers in the traditional and informal sectors. But it is renowned for its welfare
boards. And here too it is women who least benefit from these welfare boards.
We also saw how the trade union leaders have deceived the cashew sector,
which employ large number women. And even trade unions have been
influenced by money in their thirst for power. The unions who were supposed to
lead the workers struggle has been well in trenched into the system and provides
no alternatives. The shocking state of Kerala‘s resources, and over exploitation
of its life support systems, challenges all the possibilities of its further growth.

Then there was the interesting debate on the food security. One spoke about the
gains of the state under the left that emphasized public health, public education,
public distribution, land reform and minimum wages. And the process of
Globalisation now challenges all of these. Other speaker responded and raised
the question about what kind of health services and what kind of education and
what kind of public distribution system it was? The question on do we want food
security or food sovereignty? was analyzed. The role of agricultural university in
developing nature friendly and women friendly technologies was seen. It was
very clear that both the health and educational system have contributed to
generally better health and education for women but have not led to create
empowerment of women and did not change the value system to create civil
society values in keeping with high educational standards These contradictions
are reflected in the media that now reinforces stereotypes and draws Kerala
society in to the consumer trap.

  Religion used women to keep the system in place. So in this phase of
globalization we have been drawn more and more into the trap where even the
poorest women even from SHGs are drawn into consumerism because
capitalism uses the poorest. It creates colonies and it exploits. The poor women
are being exploited either as workers for a manufacturing industry or to sell the
goods of the multinational. Capitalism makes use of religion as a last resort. In
our country the state and the religion are getting more closely united and could
see how patriarchy colludes with power and money. According to Nalini only a
‗political economy of life could with stand in this crucial situation.

Nalini presented a political economy of life to political economy of death.

Political economy of Death

Relation of production       – Caste based
                              - Class based &
                              - Patriarchal based

Production                  - For exchange
                            - For profit
                            - Commodified

Value                       - all in the public sphere ‗virtual‘

Technology                   - based on non-renewable resource
Aggressive                    - On nature, on human
Leads to                     - Greater competition
                            - Violence/war
                             -Livelihood only to few

Political economy of life

Relations of production        –Living and organic
                               -Complementary between men and women
Productions for                 -For need not greed
                               - For local self sufficient
                               - Only surplus to market
Technology                       - Based more renewable
                                 - That respect the cycles /seasons
Values                            - narrowing the gap between public and private
                                  - Spirit of mutuality respect for diversity
Leads to                           -life and livelihood for the majority

The participants suggested several strategies and alternatives.
1.There is a need to identify knowledge gaps in gendering development. For this
gender sensitive studies regarding work participation rates of women, morbidity
patterns, on SHG‘s and what does it do to change gender relations, Threat to life
support systems and assessment of viable alternatives, engendered education in
schools etc were suggested
2.Who should be able to take such studies? Students/academic institutions etc
can be approached and proper orientation given to M.Phil students etc

3.We need to identify gender sensitive people in the policy making and planning
circles and dialogue with them. Even in political parties, we should be able to
identify few who are open and willing to enter into dialogue

4.The time constraint of plan formulation in local bodies is a major problem-the
way budgets are made and the deadlines to be kept etc need to be challenged
and re examined. Gender budgeting exercises should be attempted

Another participant felt strongly that we need to internalize the political economy
of life which Nalini spoke about and disseminate to a wider groups of people so
that it can have an impact on development planning processes.
It was also suggested that we should have more such debates on the institution
of family, marriage/dowry, the issues of elderly and migration and its impact on

After some discussion, it was decided to form a working group and think of
ways to create a space and environment to discuss this new paradigm of
development. This could also develop into a forum where we can share
information and studies from an alternative view point. It is also important to form
a media watch group subsequently

A working group was formed with the following members.

1.Ajitha. K. Anweshi,Kozhikode
2.Dr.K. Saradamony,Trivandrum
3.Mr. Sunny,KAIROS,Kanur
5.Ms. Soya Thomas
7.Ms.Sonia George,SEWA
8.Ms. Sharada Muralidharan
9.Ms.Neena Joseph,IMG
12Fr.Mathew paikada
13. Ms.Leela,SIRD
14.Ms.Celine Sunny,Rajagiri college of social sciences
15.Ms.Nalini Nayak


               Kerala’s Development- a feminist perspective
               Workshop :March 23rd, 24th and 25th ,2004

               Organized by Sakhi resource center for Women

               Venue: Science and Technology Museum Hall, PMG Junction,
               Palayam, Trivandrum

23rd. Tuesday: Morning:      9.30 am. Registration
                             10.30 am: Welcome and Objectives: Aleyamma Vijayan

Session 1.                   11am- 1 pm Chair: Ms.Sarada Muralidharan I.A.S

                     Key note address 1. Gender and development-perspectives
                     :Dr.Gita Sen

Lunch Break:                 1 pm- 2 pm

Session 2:                   2 pm – 4 pm      Chair. Dr. Saradomoni
Paper. 2
                          Engaging in conventional and non-conventional
                          indicators of women’s well-being:
                          Dr. Mridul Eapen & Ms.Praveena Kodo th

                          Discussant: Ms.Vanitha Nayak Mukherjee; Ms,Sheeba K.M.

4pm-4.30 pm:                 Tea break

Session 3.                   4.30 – 6.30 pm

                     Chair: Dr.Manu Bhaskar

Women‘s invisible work- traditional and informal sectors

Paper 3.Women in the informal sector: Ms.Nalini Nayak and Sonia George

Paper 4. A case study: Vulnerability of cashew sector: Dr.Anna Lindburg

24th Wednesday:

session 1:                   9 am-10.30 am:: Chair: Ms.T.Radhamony

              Paper 1. The Eroding Resource base of Kerala: Dr.M.K.Prasad
              Discussant: Ms Usha, Thanal

                             10.30 –11am: Tea Break

              11am –1pm : Paper 2: Food security and livelihoods
                                         in the context of globalization:
                                         Mr.T.P. Kunhikannan (KSSP)
               Discussants. Mr.Rony, INFACT, Pala;
                          Dr.Geethakutty,College of Agriculture,Trichur

Session 2:           2pm- 4 pm Chair. Service sector: Chair.Dr.Joy Elamon.
Paper 3 :            Health and Equity in the context of Kerala–a critical analysis:
                     Dr.Sundari Ravindran
Paper 3.             Is Education empowering women?: Dr.Michael Tharakan

4.30 –6.30           Images of women in media : Panel
Chair:               Ammu Joseph,Banglore ,Ms. Paravthi devi (kairali)

25th Thursday:

Session 1:
9 am -11 am          Emerging challenges-Rising tide of fundmentalism
                     Chair: Ms.Nina Joseph, speakers:Ms.Sugatha Kumari; K.Ajitha

Session 2:
11.30- 1.30 pm :     Concluding and summing up
                     Nalini Nayak, Aleyamma Vijayan

              Address of those who presented papers

Prof.Gita Sen                            T.P.Kunhikannan
Indian Institute of Management           Parishad Bhavan
Banerghatta Road                         Chalappuram
Bangalore 560 076                        Kozhikode 623 002

Dr.Praveena Kodoth                       Dr.Geetha Kutty P.S
Center for Development Studies           Associate Professor & Project
Prasanth Nagar                           Coordinator
Medical College P.O                      Center for Studies in Gender Concerns
Thiruvananthapuram 695011                in Agriculture
Tel : 2448881                            Kerala Agricultural University
Dr.Mridul Eapen                          Thrissur 680656
Center for Development Studies
Prasanth Nagar                           Dr.Sundari Ravindran
Medical College P.O                      Shruti
Thiruvananthapuram 695011                Ananta Housing Cooperative Society,
Tel : 2448881                            Cheruvickal P.O
                                         Thiruvanathapuram 695031
Nalini Nayak                             Tel : 0471 – 2447974
Anayara P.O                              Tara Sadasivan
Thiruvananthapuram 695 029               Achuta Menon Center for Health
Tel : 2741675                            Science Studies
                                         Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical
Sonia George                             Science & Technology
SEWA                                     Medical College Campus
Murali KRAD – 51                         Thiruvananthapuram 695001
Kuthiravattom Road
Thiruvananthapuram 695 001               Dr.Michael Tharakan
                                         22, Gowrinagar
Dr Anna Lindberg                         Pongumoodu
Department of History                    Medical College P.O
Lund University                          Thiruvananthapuram 695011
Dr.M.K.Prasad                            T.C 72 / 148,
62, Gowri Nagar                          Vallakadavu P.O
Kochi 682 020                            Thiruvananthapuram 695 008
Tel : 0484 2319430                       Tel : 0471 2502304

                        List of the participants
1. K.Ajitha
   Anweshi Women‘s Counselling
   Center                                7. Dr.Celine Sunny
   Kottuli P.O                              Executive Director
   Kozhikode 673016                         Research Institute
   Tel : 0495 2744370 (O)                   Rajagiri College of Social
          0495 2357121 (R)                  Sciences
   Mobile no : 3127426                      Kalamassery
2. Ammu Joseph
   71, ST Bed Layout                     8. Christy Shaji
   Koramangala                              Kairos
   Bangalore 560034                         Burmacheri P.O
   Tel : 080 25521831                       Kannur
                                            Tel : 0497 2712535
3. A.J.Vijayan
   Protsahan                             9. Deepa.V.N
   92, Mathrubhumi Road                     1 / 821
   Vanchiyoor                               Sreeparmeshwaram
   Thiruvananthapuram                       Kumarapuram
   695 035                                  Thiruvananthapuram 695011
   Tel : 0471 2479988                       Tel : 98472 63001

4. Andrea Brazier                        10. Freeda.V.John
   Einsiedlergasse 33 / 7                    Peniel, Modakkallur
   Noso Wlen                                 Modakkallu P.O
   Email :                                   Pin : 673 321
   andreebrazies@hotmail.com                 Tel : 0496 2700112

5. Anindita                              11. Adv.T.Geena Kumari
   TC 4 / 1182                               Sarayoo
   Thiruvananthapuram 695003                 Kudappanakkunnu P.O
6. Anupama.M.J                               Mobile No : 9447361046
   Programme Staff
   Joint Women‘s Programme               12. Jagjeevan
   P.O Box 1847, TC 36 / 150                 Pulimoottil Veedu
   Ponnalayam, Perunthanni                   Venjaramoodu P.O
   Thiruvananthapuram 695 008                Thiruvananthapuram 695 607
   Tel : 2450443                             Tel : 0472 2872199
                                             Mobile No: 9447172199

                                        20. Sr.Lisa
13. Adv.Jeena Jose                          Sisters of Charity of Jesus &
    TC 27/1785/2                            Mary
    Khadi Road                              Kakkavayal P.O
    Vanchiyoor                              Theneri
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 035              Kalpetta via Wayanad
    Mobile no 9447070201                    Tel : 04936 – 248221

14. Jibu Thomas                         21. Lourde Mary
    CENSE                                   Sthreeniketan Vanitha
    Kaitharam House                         Federation
    Kanattukara P.O                         Karunalayam
    Thrissur 680 011                        Thiruvananthapuram 695037
    Tel: 0487 - 2387589                     Tel : 2304695

15. Ms.Jincy Joseph                     22. Dr.Manju Nair
    Jananeethi (Maithri)                    Prayog, # 10
    T.B.Road, Mission Quarters,             Althara Road
    Thrissur 680001                         Thiruvananthapuram
    Tel: 2427338 / 2444473                  Tel : 0471 2724269
                                            Mobile No : 3243242
16. Joy Elamon
    Executive Coordinator               23. Dr Manu Bhaskar
    Cap Deck                                Sivodayam
    Sona Buildings, Pattom                  Chembazhanthi P.O
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 004              Thiruvananthapuram 695 587
    Tel : 0471 –2543392                     Tel : 2418425 (O)
    Fax : 2543391                                 2597981 (R)
    Email :
    capdeck@md5.vsnl.net.in             24. Fr.Mathew Paikada
17. Justine                                 Malloossery P.O
    MA Sociology                            Kottayam 686 041
    Loyola College of Social                Tel : 0481 –2392530
    Sreekariyam                         25. Maya.S
    Thiruvananthapuram                      E-7, Lakshmi Nagar,
                                            Pattom P.O
18. Lalitha.K.N                             Thiruvananthapuram 695 004
    KILA                                    Mobile No : 98471 29366
    Mulankunnathukavu P.O                   Email : mayas33@rediffmail.com
    Tel : 0487 2201768 (O)              26. Sr. Mercy Mathew
               2202728 (R)                  Cherurashmi Centre
19. Dr.Leelakumari                          Thiruvananthapuram
    SIRD                                    Tel : 0471 2506761
    ETC P.O                                 Mobile No 9447016761
    Kottarakara 691531

27. Mini Sukumar
    Suryakanti                            34. Sr.Philomen Marie
    VP - 3 / 1188                             C/o Prana
    Vettikonam,                               T.C 27 / 332 / 1
    Manikandeshwaram P.O                      Kunnukuzhi P.O
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 013                Thiruvananthapuram 695 037
    Tel : 2373845                             Tel :0471 2301591

28. Sr.Molly Alex                         35. Philip Mathew
    Ushus                                     C/o Sonia George
    Sholayoor                                 SEWA
    Palakkad 678581                           Thiruvananthapuram

29. Nina Joseph                           36. Ms.Praveena Kodoth
    IMG                                       Center for Development Studies
    Kakanadu                                  Prasanth Nagar
    Ernakulam                                 Medical College P.O
    Tel : 0484 2336008 (R)                    Thiruvananthapuram 695011
     Mobile No 9895286607                     Tel : 2448881

30. Nirmala                               37. Prema Nair
    Cap Deck                                  Aklamon
    Sona Buildings, Pattom                    Pattom Palace P.O
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 004                Thiruvananthapuram 695 004
    Tel : 0471 –2543392                       Tel : 2446047
    Fax : 2543391
                                          38. Ms.Radhamony.T
31. Mr Pankajakshan.L                         T.C.28 / 890
    Coordinator                               Jyothis
    Swaraj Kerala                             Kaithamukku
    Santhigram, Chapatth                      Thiruvananthapuram
    Kazhuvur P.O                              Tel : 2525458
    Pulluvila 695 526                         Mobile No : 98470 - 60277
    Tel fax : 2269780
    Email                                 39. Sr.Reginamma
    santhigram2003@yahoo.com                  Medical Mission Sisters
32. Ms.Parvathi Devi                          Anchuthengu P.O
    9, Subash Nagar                           Thiruvananthapuram
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 008
    Tel : 2454138 (O)                     40. Renu Henry
          2478334 / 2451624 (R)               Mariyaleyam
33. Sr.Patricia                               Thiruvananthapuram
    T.C 27 / 332 / 1
    Kunnukuzhi P.O
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 037
    Tel :0471 2301591

41. Rajarajeshwari                      48. Sindhu James
    Abhilash, TC 21 / 745                   Uzhathil House
    Nedumkad                                Kodanchery P.O
    Karamana P.O                            Kozhikode
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 003              Tel : 0495 2237771
    Tel : 2345686

42. Rony Joseph
    Kizhathadiyoor                      49. Adv. Sini Saj
    Palai                                   Jananeethi (Maithri)
    Kottayam 686 574                        T.B.Road,
    Tel : 0482 – 211997 (O)                 Mission Quarters,
                  236259 (R)                Thrissur 680001
                                            Tel: 2427338/2444473
43. Santhosh Kumar .K.C
    CENSE                               50. Sr.Sheela
    Kaitharam House                         Nazareth Convent
    Kanattukara P.O                         Kakkavayal P.O
    Thrissur 680 011                        Kalpetta North
    Tel: 0487 - 2387589                     Waynad 673122
    Email : cense@sancharnet.in             Tel : 04936 – 247635

44. Dr.K.Saradamoni                     51. Sreedhar
    Thiruvathira                            Thanal
    E–2                                     L – 14, Jawahar Nagar
    Sree Vilas Lane                         Kowdiar
    Kaudiar                                 Thiruvananthapuram 695003
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 003
    Tel : 2436880                       52. Soya Thomas
                                            H - 540, CDS,
45. Sharada Muraleedharan                   Prasanth Nagar
    E – 23, Hudeo place                     Medical College.P.O.
    Near Ansal plaza                        Thiruvananthapuram 695 011.
    New Delhi 110049.
                                        53. Sudhi
46. Sheeba K.M                              Abhilash, TC 21 / 745
    Thrishna                                Nedumkad
    Kalady                                  Karamana P.O
                                            Thiruvananthapuram 695 003
47. Seema Bhaskar                           Tel : 2345686
    Mupully House
    Pandalam Lane                       54. Sunny Asariparambil
    Kanattukara                             Gen.Coordinator
    Thrissur 680 011                        Kairos
                                            Burmacheri P.O
                                            Tel : 0497 2712535

55. Sugtha Kumari
    Tel : 2354556 (O)
          2320073 (R)

56. Sr.Therma Praikulam
    Medical Mission Sisters
    Anchuthengu P.O

57. Thressiamma Mathew
    Socio Economic Unit
    Kerala Water Authorithy
    Thrissur 680020
    Tel : 336081

58. Vani Shankar
    MSW Semester II
    Loyola College of Social

59. Vanitha Nayak Mukherjee
    Prasanth Nagar
    Medical College P.O
    Thiruvananthapuram 695 011

60. Usha
    L – 14, Jawahar Nagar
    Trivandrum 695003
    Tel : 0471 – 2727150
    Email : thanal@vsnl.com


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