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Assets versus Autonomy? The Changing Face of the Gender-Caste Overlap in India

  • Ashwini Deshpande

Inter-group disparity in India is multifaceted; this paper focuses on gender and caste as two important indicators of disadvantage. An assessment of the contemporary state of the gender-caste overlap suggests that the economic condition of women continues to be defined and constrained by their caste status. At the same time, the traditional distinction between lower caste and upper caste women, based on the relative egalitarianism and greater freedom of movement of the latter, needs to be revised. The Dalit (low caste) women are the worst off, as they belong to a group that is materially at the bottom of the ladder; their relative deprivation is compounded by low levels of autonomy and greater exposure to domestic violence.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 19-35

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:8:y:2002:i:2:p:19-35
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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
  2. Ashwini Deshpande, 2000. "Does Caste Still Define Disparity? A Look at Inequality in Kerala, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 322-325, May.
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