Rural Women and Natural Resources in Nepal: Women's Roles in Survival versus Hegemonies: The Use of Natural Resources Is Essential to Everyone and Is a Basic Human Needs Especially to Those Living in Rural Environments. for People Denied Such Access, Life Is a Matter of Survival, Many Survive at the Cost of Extreme Dependence on Those Who Have Access

By Regmi, Sabrina | Women in Action, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Rural Women and Natural Resources in Nepal: Women's Roles in Survival versus Hegemonies: The Use of Natural Resources Is Essential to Everyone and Is a Basic Human Needs Especially to Those Living in Rural Environments. for People Denied Such Access, Life Is a Matter of Survival, Many Survive at the Cost of Extreme Dependence on Those Who Have Access


Regmi, Sabrina, Women in Action


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Such is the case of Nepal, a landlocked country located between China (north) and India (south, east, west). It has a population of 28,901,790 (July 2007 est.) and a total land area of 147,181 square kilometres. (1) While Nepal consists of unlimited natural resources such as water, timber, hydropower, and scenic beauty, it has an extremely fragile environment. It is often affected by severe flooding, landslides, anti famine and faces environmental problems such as deforestation because of an overuse of wood for fuel. These often have negative impacts on people in rural areas who depend highly on nature for their survival. It must be noted that the majority of people, especially those in the rural areas, depend on land and agriculture as an economic activity.

Practices based on religion and patriarchy inevitably play a role in maintaining social inequalities. The dominant religion is Hinduism which stratifies castes into four: the Brahmin as the highest, Kshatri, Vaisya, and Shudra or Dalit as the lowest/untouchables. Practices leading to gender inequality such as the unequal division of labour based on the patriarchal tradition puts women to work in domestic (reproductive) sphere and men to work in the public (productive) sphere. While women are engaged in completing household chores, bearing and rearing children, taking care of the elderly, providing water and food to family, men often work outside the home--mostly in skilled jobs and/or income generating activities.

Because patriarchal ideologies and religious laws prevail in Nepal, dimensions of identity such as gender, caste, and ethnicity create hegemonic privilege on the use of natural resources. This paper aims to draw attention to the hegemonic politics at the micro level pertaining to the access to natural resources from the women's perspective, and to come up with recommendations. The paper will present examples of how Nepalese rural women ensure their family's survival as they play a vital role in the provision of water and food.

Customary and legal framework

The patriarchal custom of preferring sons over daughters (a discrimination and deprivation on the basis of sex/ gender) starts immediately after birth.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The right to inheritance and access to property and land are denied to women while the inheritance to son is claimed as a son's birthright. Although a legal bill has been passed as a government initiative in 1997 declaring daughters as co-heirs of the parental properties including land, it has certain biases such as only daughters who remain unmarried until the age of 35 (which represents half of their life since the average Nepalese woman's life span is 57.1 years), (2) can inherit parental properties or land. If they marry later on, then they are to return the properties to their maternal relatives. On the other hand, those who are married have equal right to the ancestral property or land of their husband's side if their husbands are not alive provided that they are 35 years of age or married for at least 15 years. Such a weak and restricted legal framework is not better or worse than the cultural regulatory framework which denies inheritance of properties and land rights to women. They only reinforce patriarchy as these laws are biased and male-centered.

The Hindu caste system custom stratifies Brahmins (highest caste) as high profile people and Dalits (lowest caste) as low profile people. The latter are called pani nachalne jaat (caste from whom water is not accepted) and the water touched by them is considered polluted and unusable; whoever comes into contact with them needs purification. This makes it difficult for Dalits to get access to water-wells and other public natural resources.

Nepal's Constitution of 1990 states that no discrimination shall be made against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, sex, caste, tribe or ideological conviction. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rural Women and Natural Resources in Nepal: Women's Roles in Survival versus Hegemonies: The Use of Natural Resources Is Essential to Everyone and Is a Basic Human Needs Especially to Those Living in Rural Environments. for People Denied Such Access, Life Is a Matter of Survival, Many Survive at the Cost of Extreme Dependence on Those Who Have Access
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.