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SOCIAL ISSUES
Readings on the social problems in the Himalayas, such as those of cultural erosion, low capacity and political influence, and gender disparity.
Low capacity and development neglect: Mountain areas are considered to be peripheral and less productive than others and hence accorded lower priority in national policies. Further, the plight of these small populations gets overlooked in development plans, and programmes based on the more dominant lowlands are applied in these regions, in spite of the differences in cultures & ecosystems, resulting in failure to achieve development objectives. Unfortunately, the low capacity of the Himalayan communities constrains them from advocating for appropriate development action that would enable them to rise out of poverty, and their sparse population reduces their influence in democratic processes. As a result of poor infrastructure and extreme remoteness, the flow of information to the Himalayan region is constrained. Developments that would benefit Himalayan communities and ease their burden do not reach them and this contributes to a continuing low quality of life. Local, democratic institutions fail to get properly established; civil society participation is at a rudimentary level and development interventions for the Himalayan people are few and inadequate.
Title: Mountain Tourism: A Boon or Bane? – Impacts of Tourism on Himalayan Women
Author: Sherpa, Y.
Source: Women of the Mountains Conference, 2007
Year: 2007
Publisher: Utah Valley State College, Utah
Abstracts:  Among mountain populations, women play a crucial role in natural resource management, agricultural production, tourism, well-being and the very survival of mountain families, but they are more undernourished, under-compensated for their labor and under-represented in formal decision-making bodies. The paper examines the status of mountain women, the potential of tourism for women empowerment and poverty alleviation and the negative impacts from tourism such as cultural degeneration, environmental degradation and other issues.
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Title: Political Ecology of Timber Rights in the Western Himalayas
Author: Vasan, S.
Source: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, USA
Year: 1998
Publisher: Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Abstracts:  The research paper seeks to outline a concrete timber rights management framework in the backdrop of the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh in the western Himalayas. The paper uses political ecology to combine ecological concerns with the study of the political economy. It recommends holistic management, inter-sectoral co-operation and a forest policy based on very localized facts but with broad perspective for sustainable forest management.
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Title: Women and Development in the Garhwal Himalayas
Author: Nautiyal, A.
Source: Asian Journal of Women’s Studies
Year: 2003
Publisher: Asian Center for Women's Studies
Abstracts:  A close look at the social, economic and political aspects of development in the Garhwal Himalayas clearly indicates that women remain a neglected lot. Their work in the society is overlooked, and their basic needs and aspirations are also ignored. As a result, development has failed to bring about significant changes in the quality of life of women in most of the remote areas of this hilly region. The article identifies the need to encourage women representation in local governing bodies and other such institutions for real development to take place.
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Title: Women, Energy and Water in the Himalayas – Incorporating the Needs and Roles of Women in Water and Energy Management Project Learning
Author: Sharma, B. and Banskota, K.
Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Year: 2005
Publisher: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Abstracts:  Water and energy are essential resources for human survival and well-being, mountain women in the Himalayas are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their daily water and energy needs in a sustainable manner. The paper documents the learnings from ‘Capacity Building of Women for Energy and Water Management in the Rural Areas of the Himalayas’, by ICIMOD. It attempts to draw attention towards interventions that can empower women to meet their water and energy needs in a way that frees them from excessive, time-consuming drudgery and allows them to increase their income and improve their status in society
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