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No time to worship the serpent deities: women, economic change, and religion in north-western Nepal.

Authors
  • Saul, R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gender and development
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1999
Volume
7
Issue
1
Pages
31–39
Identifiers
PMID: 12295339
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This paper explores the changing relationships between lay women, and the spiritual realm, in two ethnic Tibetan communities, Kag and Dzong, in northwestern Nepal. The study tackles how economic and social change has affected women's spiritual roles within the household and the community, and how these roles, in turn, have influenced the course of such change. In Kag, the introduction of tourism changed women's way of life. They became income-generating members of the community as lodge-owners. With new responsibilities to manage, Kag women eventually neglected their traditional social and spiritual obligations, much to the dismay of the older generation. On the other hand, women in Dzong still consider full social and physical participation in village life important despite the added obligations. They maintain spiritual harmony within the village. Dzongba women do not seem to feel the same conflicts as Kagpa women. The negative impact of Kag women's neglect of traditional social and spiritual responsibilities should be weighed against the possible benefits to women, household, and economy.

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