Published by Science Direct, Volume 49, March 2019

Authors: MinnaSunikka-Blank, RonitaBardhan, Anika NasraHaque

Women’s involvement in decision-making in domestic energy remains an under-researched area, especially in the urban context. This research adopts a gendered perspective in exploring slum rehabilitation housing in India. Based on a household survey and a focus group discussion (FGD), women’s household and working practices are explored in interview narratives and systems analysis. The findings show that the relocation to slum rehabilitation housing (SRH) has radically changed women’s household routines (cooking, comfort, childrearing, working and entertainment practices) and that women are more affected by the relocation than men. Changed practices, poor design of SRH and lack of outdoor space have radically increased electricity use and living costs in all the surveyed households. The economic pressure forces women into lowly paid jobs or informal economy, creating a vicious circle where women’s time poverty further reduces their social capital and opportunities for self-development in terms of education or formal employment. A comparison of SRH typologies shows that building design has great influence both on gendered use of space and electricity use, advocating a courtyard typology. Further, interviews with policy-makers reveal a dis-juncture between the occupant realities and the policy objectives. The paper argues that gender equality can and should be influenced through energy and housing policies and offers a conceptual framework for inclusive SRH to address this dis-juncture.

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