The gradual realization that large percentage of population in India has been by-passed by economic growth, led to the awareness that economic growth, to be meaningful, must be attended by increasing participation of masses especially women as it is the only meaningful way of transforming purchasing power and raising the general level of well being. Although economic deprivation to about half of our population has been inherited from our past subjugation, yet we have exacerbated it by perpetuating social backwardness, inequalities of gender and case, outmoded traditions and divisions and a new individualistic cynicism. The entire social structure should be revitalised and new norms be created where equality and freedom irrespective of class, caste, religion or gender be practised as human rights and responsibilities. The women should be allowed to use their full potential. Through adequate measures of health, education, skills and intellectual as well as moral capabilities, they should be equipped to raise the quality of life. Social change through equal treatment for the girl child and reducing son preference, schooling for both boys and girls, empowering women and providing them new skills for income generation is need of the hour. The pernicious habit of gender inequality as well as of early marriage and early age of the mother at time of first birth, must be tackled vigorously. This book deals with the theoretical controversies as well as empirical findings with view to establish the fact as to how far the changing socio-economic set up in the rural economy during the process of economic development over a period of five decades is acting and reacting to the women education, employment opportunities, participation in social and political activities, age at marriage and their fertility behaviour, participation in household, farm and non-farm activities, dowry, purdah and widow remarriage system as well as the role of women in decision making in different spheres.
Dr. Savita Thakur Joshi (b. 1964) obtained the degrees of M.A. in Sociology (1985 and M.Phil. (1986) from Punjab University, Chandigarh. She has been awarded Ph.D. by Punjab Universty, Chandigarh in 1991. Currently she is engaged in research with Population Research Centre at Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. Dr. Savita Thakur Joshi has been awarded number of certificates and prizes in cultural activities. She has attended workshops/conferences on research methodology, computers use in research and demographic data within the country and abroad. She is an untiring research and devoted scholar. She has about ten years research experience. She has written about one dozen research reports on demographic conditions, characteristics and problems as well as on the Family Welfare Programmes. About half dozen of her research papers on gender inequality, family welfare and on the nature and extent of women’s work participation have been published in reputed journals.
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