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Gender inequality in Kumaon hills

The scale of gender inequality in Kumaon equals the height of the hills. Though the role of women is crucial to the hill economy, they are by and large an invisible force.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 01:13 IST

No one would agree, even those living in the Kumaon hills, that the scale of gender inequality equals the height of the hills.

I had an opportunity to work in the Ullaini and Saila villages of Almora district of Uttaranchal. Here, the status of women, even in terms of availability and access to basic amenities, is miserable.

Though the role of women is very important and crucial to the hill economy, they are by and large an 'invisible force'. They spend longer hours of hard work in their fields and at home. The condition of women in other villages of the district is no different than Ullaini and Saila.

In sharp contrast to the lifestyle of the women is the way in which men conduct themselves. Most of them spend their time playing cards at teashops, gossiping on political issues, reading political news and drinking local wine.

Government intervention: Government efforts to bring women into the national mainstream were started in the early fifty's.

First Published: Mar 10, 2004 05:44 IST