Education, Economic Participation, and Women's Status in India

Tanya Kenkre, Pennsylvania State University

Although social scientists have been interested in the study of women’s status for some time, consensus on a standard definition of this concept remains elusive. In spite of the nebulousness of the term, demographic research concerning women’s status is typically operationalized by measuring decision making, access to and control of material resources, and the experience of physical violence. Consequently, large scale surveys only focus on women’s subjection to manifest forms of power, and socio-demographic understandings of women’s status have been limited to this domain. Data collection instruments measuring more hidden power dynamics have been unavailable to social scientists. The study discusses the potential for measuring women’s status more broadly in surveys than has been achieved thus far. The study analyzes data collected by an Indian survey that follows the typical format, the NFHS-2, and reviews these data alongside findings from focus group discussions concerning Indian women’s experiences with education and social status.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture