This volume of Social Scientist is the third and last of the special series on gender. Centred on the worsening of women's situation in the new economic regimes of globalisation and liberalisation, it also overlaps and connects with essays in the two previous volumes on labour, communalism and the deterioration of women's situation in contemporary regional economies. Malini Bhattacharya in 'Women in Dark Times: Gender, Culture and Polities', uncovers the veiled complementarities between the religious fascism and communal hatred of the Hindutva brigade with their deployment of women as 'unreason1, the liberalisation and globalisation under the aegis of the state with accompanying languages of 'development', and the anti-woman faces of modernity exemplified in practices such as dowry burning or female foeticide. Democracy, egalitarianism, secularism and socialism had provided terms of reference for relationships within our political space and parameters for describing gender and cultural issues; she concludes that the curtailment of this political space, as the referential power of these ideas is eroded or obfuscated by double talk, now places the onus on the left to once again forge a language for social change.
Vibhuti Patel in 'Women and Structural Adjustment in India' critiques the international division of labour, the way it intersects with the New Economic Policy, Structural Adjustment Programme, decline in industrial and agricultural production, inflation, cuts in education, food subsidy, public health expenditure and poverty alleviation programmes. She outlines the devastating consequences of these for the majority of women: unemployment, retrenchment, marginalisation, informalisation of the female workforce, increased girl child labour and prostitution. Shakti Kak in 'Rural Women and Labour Force Participation' examines the nature and extent of rural women's insertion into the workforce. She argues that given the inequities of the capitalist mode of production and social stratification, present structural adjustment policies are not only marginalising and casualising women but also pushing them into the low wage sector and unpaid invisible work. Padmini Swaminathan in 'Development Experience(s) in India: Gendered Perspectives on Industrial Growth, Employment and Education' discusses the nature of
Social Scientist, Vol. 22, Nos. 3-4, March-April 1994