An opportunity for change? Gender analysis of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

Briefing papers
February 2011
Rebecca Holmes, Nidhi Sadana and Saswatee Rath

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees 100 days minimum wage employment to rural households in India. Enacted in 2006, MGNREGA is a flagship programme now reaching over 50 million households across the country. It aims to promote improvements in grassroots democracy and facilitate transparency through community accountability mechanisms, e.g. the social audit forum where villages participate in the assessment of programme implementation.

MGNREGA is part of the Government of India’s broader commitment to inclusive growth, which aims to address both the economic and social underpinnings of poverty.

This Project Briefing presents evidence from qualitative and quantitative research carried out by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It assesses the extent to which MGNREGA integrates a gender-sensitive approach to public works programmes to support the inclusion of women – especially from marginalised communities – in India’s poverty reduction and growth processes.

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