July 2006, volume 30, No 7

This report on the changing status of women in West Bengal covering a period of thirty years from 1970-2000 is a very commendable effort and worth duplicating for other states. The report has the usual canvas assessing women’s development indicators and the gender gap in health, nutrition, education, economic empowerment, political participation but with additional explorations into law and violence and women’s production of cultural capital. There is a separate chapter on the status of tribal women given West Bengal’s substantial tribal population. The report consists of several detailed chapters addressing each development indicator, showing internal variations in the districts as well as evaluating West Bengal’s status in relation to all-India statistics and pointing out meaningful comparisons with other states (for instance, it ruefully remarks how Haryana has overtaken West Bengal in girls/100 boys gross enrolment ratio; p.55). An especially valuable feature of the report is the set of appendices detailing the micro studies carried out.

Continue reading this review