Paving the way to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for women from Indigenous communities: lessons from Attappady, India

Sarah T. Thomas, Elizabeth T. Thomas, Michelle McLean, Thomas T. Titus

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Abstract

India is home to the world’s second largest Indigenous population, comprising 8.6% of the national population. They are constitutionally recognised as ‘Scheduled Tribes’ to aid their development after centuries of oppression and socio-cultural marginalisation through the caste system. Limited disaggregated data exist on India’s Scheduled Tribe populations’ health outcomes, including for Indigenous women. Kerala, one of India’s southern states, is an intriguing case study. The State has outperformed other Indian states and South Asian countries with respect to a number of health and education indicators despite its more modest economic performance. Relatively little is known, however, about whether the State’s tribal or ‘Adivasi’ population is prospering. This article used data from a cross-sectional observational study of tribal women conducted in the Attappady area in the Palakkad district in Kerala, South India, which has a dense tribal population. The outcomes for these communities were compared with the relevant United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators as well as Kerala State data to identify areas of growth and need. The findings of this case study highlight successes as well as persisting gaps in health outcomes for women and children in marginalised tribal communities. Using a strengths-based approach, we propose possible strategies to address the perceived gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Journal Discover Sustainability
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2021

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