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Group rights, gender justice, and women's self-help groups: exit, voice, and loyalty in an indigenous community in India

Kabeer, Naila ORCID: 0000-0001-7769-9540, Narain, Nivedita, Arora, Varnica and Lal, Vinitika (2023) Group rights, gender justice, and women's self-help groups: exit, voice, and loyalty in an indigenous community in India. Social Philosophy & Policy. ISSN 0265-0525 (In Press)

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This essay addresses some of the tensions within political philosophy between group rights, which allow historically marginalized communities some self-governance in determining its own rules and norms, and the rights of marginalized subgroups, such as women, within these communities. Community norms frequently uphold patriarchal structures that define women as inferior to men, assign them a subordinate status within the community, and cut them off from the individual rights enjoyed by women in other sections of society. As feminists point out, the capacity for voice and exit cannot be taken for granted, for community norms may be organized in ways that deny women any voice in its decision-making forums as well as the resources they would need to survive outside the community. This essay draws on quantitative and qualitative research among the Gond, an indigenous community in India, to explore this debate. Given the strength of the forces within the community militating against their capacity for voice or exit, the question motivating our research is: Can external organizations make a difference? We explore the impacts of two external development organizations that sought to work with women within these communities, analyzing whether these organizations were effective in their objectives, whether they had any impact on women’s voice and exit options, and whether the kind of organization they were made a difference to the impacts that we found.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2023 14:54
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 12:15

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