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Voices of Women within the Devanga Community, Bangalore, India

  • haridarshan, pooja
Publication Date
Sep 16, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/educsci11090547
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Women face a unique set of challenges in India on account of traditionally held views of their gender, as well as often having lower educational and community status. Gender discrimination has continued to remain an evil in our society. Almost 70% women in South Asia are married at a young age, which is coupled with early childbearing and a lack of decision-making abilities within the traditional family structures, further enhancing their “disadvantaged” position in society. In India, the relationship of status and patriarchal values in addition to the deprived status of women worsens the situation. Despite advances having been made in the active participation of women in the political and economic domain, not much change has been seen in incidences of gender discrimination or dominant patriarchy. Daily interactions ensure that gender stereotypes have a strong influence on our values, judgements and evaluations to an extent that men and women are treated differently in society. A small weaving community, the Devanga community, which has its roots spread across India, practices stereotypes and patriarchal norms which have ensured the existence of male dominance in almost every aspect of decision making. The position of women within this community is worthy of debate and discussion, although no prior research has been conducted on this issue within the Devanga community. This paper draws upon the voices of women from within this community to understand the various levels of discrimination faced by them on a regular basis, along with highlighting male privilege as a cause of perpetuated discrimination and lesser opportunities for girls compared with boys. The reported research study analyzed data obtained from 120 women from the Devanga community through semi structured questionnaires and interviews and adopted an ethnographic feminist perspective to interpret these data. Findings indicate that the voices of women within this community are suppressed due to contributory factors such as orthodox beliefs and practices, male dominance, early marriage, and domestic responsibilities and all of these can be viewed as a barrier to providing educational opportunities to girls. Findings suggest that despite the progress made by women in India, they are still considered to be the single largest group of backward citizens.

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