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Abstract

Reports responses to interviews conducted in three rural villages in Eastern India in January 2000 as well as replies to questions to asked at a forest meeting of groups/persons interested in rural women and development. The questions were designed to provide information on gender-bias and possible reasons for it, especially any economic reasons. These interviews are intended to supplement detailed questionnaires directed to wives in these villages. Interviews were conducted with Kondhs and scheduled caste villages in a village west of Dashapalla in Orissa, with Santals in all Santal villages, Bandhgora, in the Midnapore region of West Bengal and with Santals and scheduled caste Hindus in a mixed village, Sanandapur, in the same region. The results highlight significant differences between tribal and scheduled caste Hindus in the status accorded to females. Differences in the entitlements of males and females emerge. While the two tribal groups interviewed have displayed male dominance, it is less marked amongst tribals than amongst non0bribals. In those tribal groups considered here a basic price is normally paid whereas in non-tribal Hindu families a 'grown price' is paid. This, for example, appears to result in a significant difference in attitude to female children by these groups.

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