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Title: Cataract surgery: impact on activities, time use and gender and power relations in rural Andhra Pradesh, India
Authors: Hewage, Neville
Keywords: cataract surgery;gender relations;power relations;rural households;Andra Pradesh, India;socio-economic status
Issue Date: 21-Dec-2015
Abstract: Social customs and the patriarchal structure of Indian society determine women’s intrahousehold status. Vision loss due to cataracts and post-surgery recovery of vision may contribute to changes in the manner in which women experience societal norms and practices, and may have an impact on gender and power relations and socio-economic status within the household. No studies which take into account socio-cultural factors and economic status have examined the impact of cataract surgery (i) on activities and (ii) time use, and (iii) on gender and power relations in rural households in Andhra Pradesh, India. This project determines what changes if any occur in gender and power relations in families in rural households in Andra Pradesh after a member has undergone cataract surgery. Qualitative analyses were performed to explore participants’ perspectives and understand the extent to which gender and power relations may change after cataract surgery. The narrative analysis showed that the profiles of the women and men in the younger and older age groups were quite different, yet there were also similarities. Certain patterns emerged following cataract surgery. While decision-making patterns did not change substantially, all participants stated that their mobility had improved after surgery and this led to a corresponding improvement in their quality of life. In addition, the quality of relationships improved for two of the women and two of the men. In addition to the narrative analysis, qualitative data from the participants assisted with understanding the complex issues related to gender and power relationships through a thematic analysis. For the most part, family composition and living arrangements did not change much as a result of cataract surgery. These matters were largely determined by customs and norms. Indeed, many of the participants described how they were able to perform various tasks, once again due to improvement in their vision. Both men and women spoke about their ability to engage in household work after the surgery. However, as women performed most of this work, cataract surgery had a greater impact on this aspect of life for women. Cataract surgery and improved vision did not have a substantial impact on gender and power relations within the context of intra-household matters as broader gender roles were more influential in this domain. Cataract sufferers were more satisfied with their lives and the benefits from surgery. Improvements in quality of life and in the activities of the participants are supported by my research findings.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Theses
Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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