A Geographical Study of Women Status in an Emerging Urban Industrial Economy: Experiences from the Asansol Durgapur Development Area of West Bengal, India
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Urbanization has an immense impact on the holistic development of a region. In that same context, the level of women empowerment plays a significant role in the development of any region, particularly a region belonging to a developing country. The present study investigates the status of women empowerment in the Asansol Durgapur Planning Area of the state of West Bengal, India by investigating the status of women. Through this study an attempt has been to made to understand the perception of the respondents on the context of women’s empowerment. The study integrates multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative data collected from various reports, field-based measurements, questionnaire survey and community based participatory appraisals. Results reveal that women of the rural parts of the region are relatively disempowered due to the various restrictions imposed on them and enjoy lower socioeconomic clout than their male counterparts in spite of the several remedial efforts taken by the government and NGOs to elevate their position in the society. A considerable gender gap still exists regarding access to education, employment and decision-making power in the family and significant differences in attitude towards women are observable in the rural and urban areas. Freedom of women primarily vary according to their age group, educational level, employment and income status and also on the degree of urbanization. Asansol Durgapur Planning Area is primarily an industrial region where huge employment generation scope exists. But these disparities are quite alarming and indicate that economic development does not always usher in socially justifiable rights and access to resources for both men and women alike in its awake. In this backdrop, this study will attempt to forward relevant suggestions which can be followed for betterment of the status of women.
In this context, urbanization often plays a crucial role in empowering women as the various positive effects associated with urbanization leads to elevation of the status of women in the society which in turn results in further development of the region (Samman and Hunt, 2016). Urbanization often has several impacts like changes in the land-use, economy, types of employment etc. (Santra, et al 2018). In most of the developed countries of the world, urbanization has played a very important role in women empowerment through various ways like making women aware of the rights and laws availabel for them, providing them with equity and equality with their male counterparts and so on (Ghosal, 2018). In the developing countries, huge gendered
Development, Disempowered, Economic Development, Urbanization, Women Empowerment.