Women and Poverty in India: Law and Social Change
Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 6, p. 278, 1993
27 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2008
Date Written: August 13, 2008
In this article, Brenda Cossman and Ratna Kapur explore the ways in which law is implicated in women's socio-economic inequality and poverty in India. The authors examine several different areas of the law to illustrate the extent to which law is based on and serves to reinforce women's economic dependence. Family law, labour law, and rural development law all serve, although in very different ways, to reinforce assumptions about women's economic dependence in tile family, and in turn, to reinforce the actual socio-economic conditions that produce that economic dependency. In the second part of the paper, Cossman and Kapur examine some of the ways in which attempts to use the law, and particularly, rights discourse, to improve women's socio-economic conditions in India, have been undermined. The authors consider the Indian experience with public interest litigation and its limitations for feminism, as well as the growing challenge of religious fundamentalism to women's struggles for social change in India.
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