Possibilities and Constraints*
This chapter documents the state and evolution of gender conditions and relations in Palanpur. The village has historically been a deeply patriarchal society where women had a very little role to play in public life. While many manifestations of striking gender inequality remain, some progress has been observed, particularly in recent years. Female education is showing some improvement, age at marriage is increasing, fertility is declining, and access to information, via mobile phones and television, is improving. Despite these encouraging signs, there remain enormous challenges. Domestic violence remains widespread; outcomes and relative strengths within the household are governed by the existence, or absence, of a fall-back position. Women’s employment opportunities in Palanpur remain extraordinarily limited. Further, a woman’s ability to reach her potential is still strongly linked to her social position in terms of class and caste.
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