A Tribal Women's Court in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Project Details


Back in November 2005, I set off to commence fieldwork for my master thesis in rural south Rajasthan, near Udaipur. There, I examined the ways women of the Meena community (re)negotiate patriarchal gender norms and women’s identities within an unusual tribal women’s court. Presided over by women, this court offers room for impoverished tribal women to articulate novel ideas of women’s rights in the area of marriage and the family within a women friendly environment. During my six months of fieldwork, I learned that for many tribal women, this informal court was the only place where their concerns in regard to domestic violence, marital rejection, polygamy, child custody, property, and maintenance were taken seriously. Then in contemporary India the sluggish and expensive state courts as well as the men-reserved community assemblies are generally more concerned with upholding of patriarchal values than with the socio-economic needs of tribal women as mothers, daughters, and wives. My research evinces that such a female legal-space could be particularly valuable for tribal women who are confronted with a predominantly men-dominated patriarchal legal context.
Effective start/end date1/06/0531/07/07


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