Exploring Dimensions of Women's Social Exclusion and Inclusion in Nepal
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionForum for Development Studies 2016, 43(2):281-309 https:/doi.org/10.1080/08039410.2015.1114517
The article examines a variety of social exclusion and inclusion indicators grouped by domains that are commonly referred to in the social exclusion literature: economic, social, political and intra-household. Levels of social exclusion and inclusion among different groups of women across these domains are studied. This analysis reveals a complex pattern with great variations among women with different socio-demographic and socio-cultural backgrounds. Subsequently we perform a factor (principal components) analysis that identifies four major dimensions of women's social exclusion and inclusion: outward orientation, civil society involvement, household decision-making power and monetary income. These four dimensions help us uncover factors that have contributed to the social inclusion of women, from a position of exclusion a generation ago. Crucial drivers of change have been education and urbanisation, but participation in community-based organisations has also contributed. We find that gender relations in the household are the most resistant to change and cannot be easily influenced by external change agents. There appear to be different mechanisms operating for social inclusion within each of the identified dimensions. This means there is no blueprint for any policy measures that would increase social inclusion along all the four dimensions, but measures should be specifically designed for each dimension. The data are drawn from a household survey of 2547 women between 18 and 49 years of age living in 16 districts across Nepal.