Investment in development of water supply and sanitation facilities benefit empowerment of women A Minor Field Study in rural Odisha, India

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för nationalekonomi

Author: Julia Behm; [2016]

Keywords: empowerment; gender; time-use; India; Minor Field Study;

Abstract: This study examines if investments in water and sanitation facilities can empower women through freeing up their time. Qualitative data from 108 surveys have been gathered from a case study in rural villages in Odisha, India. Empowerment was divided into four dimensions based on 24 variables, which included Decision-making, Power to perform activities independently, Awareness of social issues and Attitudes towards husband beating. The result showed a direct relationship between time spent on water ¬¬and sanitation activities and women's awareness. This relationship was the opposite of what was expected since time spent on water and sanitation increased women's awareness. An indirect effect was also found where women that spent less time on water related activities increased their time spent on leisure, where leisure affected women's level of empowerment negatively. One explanation to the result could thus be that women get more empowered as long as they are engaged in any activity instead of leisure. In conclusion, this paper confirms previous research of how women are dependent on institutions and organizations in order to break structural norms and increase their agency.

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