Kicking off the summer

Hi everyone, I’m Rashi, a rising 2nd year in the Political Science PhD program. Before starting the PhD, I worked at policy research organizations on projects with rural households in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar, as well as industries in Maharashtra Gujarat. Since starting the PhD program, I have focused on better understanding women’s political participation in South Asia. Specifically, I’m keen to learn about the conditions under which women coordinate their political preferences and behaviour with other members of their household and when women may choose to depart from family-centered politics to participate in politics autonomously. An important part of women’s political participation is the role of the household in mediating access to and use of political resources. In India, over 75% of women over 22 years have left their place of birth, almost all because of marriage. Such norms foster a gender inequality in social networks—women’s ties within the household become more concentrated while men continue to enjoy more expansive networks outside the household.

Over the course of the summer, I plan to focus in further on the link between women’s labour force participation and their political participation. I’d like to analyse secondary data sources including the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey, produced by the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) as well as the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) produced by the University of Maryland. I’d also like to spend some time learning more about India’s largest public workfare program, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Though this differs from state to state, NREGS employs a significant number of women as part of its workforce. The Ministry of Rural Development maintains meticulous publicly accessible portals, containing information on household job cards, eligible members within the household, the number of days each member worked and the amount they were paid. The data are not in easily downloadable format but instead need to be scraped from the portal. Over the summer, I plan to take a Python class that would allow me to scrape NREGS data from the portal and continuously update the dataset in real time. This is a considerable exercise and I expect it to take me the better part of the summer to scrape these data.

I’m really excited to be part of the CASI Summer Research community this year. look forward to continuing to provide updates on my work here and learning more about the important and interesting work colleagues across disciplines are upto!

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About rashi