Women as Milieu Managers in Integrated Watershed Management: Perspectives from the Hilly Areas of Uttarakhand
Integrated watershed management provides a viable mechanism for managing land, water and biomass of a region, especially in the rain-fed areas of India. It foresees a sustainable conservation of available natural resources and embarks upon collective action irrespective of gender bias. In the marginal hilly areas of the country, the burden of livelihood directly falls upon the womenfolk. This is because due to lack of off-farm activities the hills of India see a lot of male outmigration in search of better employment activities. The degradation in the ecosystem/natural resources thus has a direct bearing upon the women of the region, as they are the ultimate stakeholders of the natural endowments. Integrated watershed management provides a ray of hope amidst the swarm of faulty and borrowed developmental plans, especially for the womenfolk of the marginal hilly areas of the country. The present paper assesses the role the women play in managing their immediate surroundings and argues that the level of participation of women remains paramount in integrated watershed management in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand.
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