Life without a husband : enforced disappearance and female livelihoods in Western Nepal
This study focuses on the livelihoods of women, whose husbands disappeared during the civil war (1996-2006) in Nepal. It is about the strategies adopted by the women for daily basic needs in absence of their husbands. Being uneducated and rural dwellers, the informants are mostly living on agriculture and other rural activities. Assets especially land, plays a significant role in rural livelihoods. But, access to and control of assets and productive rural resources are mediated by local cultures and gender ideologies. Men were previously the ‘main breadwinners’ in family households and women mere dependents. However in absence of men/husbands, women/wives assumed additional responsibilities such as cultivating and maintaining farms, and obtaining loans-to ensure the viability of their households. The study shows that women are now the exclusive ‘bread-winners’ and ‘decision-makers’ in the new female-headed households in the Bardia district of Western Nepal. Moreover, the findings show how adversity had mobilised women consciously or unconsciously to challenge cultural values, thereby re-ordering a gender roles. Women have been shown to raise their voices in the public arena to demand information about the whereabouts of their husbands-whose absence had undermined the socio-economic security of family households.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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