Women bear the brunt of development drawbacks

Published on SifyNews, by IANS, 20 December, 2007.

New Delhi: The economic boom and high growth rate that the country is experiencing actually spells bad news for women, says a new report.

Titled “Resources Rich Tribal Poor”, the report by international development agency ActionAid, Indian Social Institute (ISI), and LAYA – an NGO based in Andhra Pradesh working on tribal rights issues – says that when it comes to development projects which in turn cause displacement, women are the worst sufferers. 

Joseph Marianus Kujur of the ISI – who was the research coordinator for the study conducted in four resource rich states, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh – said that from being abused to carrying a heavier work load, it’s the women who are the worst sufferers at the end of the day, while the entire world chants that development is taking place.

“We conducted the study in five districts of the four states, which despite being rich in natural resources are continuously getting a raw deal as people keep getting displaced. The number of trafficking cases and violence against women increase as well as the work load,” says Kunjur

Kujur said that in 2006-07, more than 40 girls who were trafficked from the tribal belts of Jharkhand and Orissa were rescued from New Delhi …

… Most of the displaced people who are tribals find it very difficult to cope in a new environment. Not only do they lose their cultural identity and customary practices but they also have to adopt the local community’s culture to survive.

The report states an example of women in Orissa who spoke about their fear and discomfort in their otherwise traditional bathing practice in the open in the streams and rivers.

“In a new setting they are scared to be themselves and instead of the traditional bathing practice, they roam around in groups rather than walking alone.

“Most of the rituals practised by the forest dwellers in their homes are looked down upon by the host communities,” the report said. (full text).

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