Dalit women face a triple burden of caste, class and gender in which she sums up the plight of Dalit women, highlighting the fact that they are a distinct social group and cannot be masked under the general categories of Women or Dalits. Dalit women suffered unimaginable oppression, not only through caste, but gender too, from which there was no escape. According to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes 2000, approximately seventy five per cent of the Dalit girls drop out of primary school despite the strict laws of the Government of India, which hold reservations for Dalit children. There are large numbers of reported atrocities on Dalit women that can be found recorded in various newspaper articles, journals and government reports in India.
Girls from Dalit families feel discouraged o enter education and we see the lowest literacy rate for Dalit girls compared to the total population of educated upper caste girls since only a small percentage of the total population of Dalit women are educated, the fate of the majority is very grim. According to India’s Ministry of Labour, eighty five per cent of the Dalit women have the most formidable occupations and work as agricultural labourers, scavengers, sweepers and disposers of human waste. Many of these women work for minimal wages under the upper caste landlords, since it is proposed that by the National Commission for SC/ST that eighty five percent of the Dalits are landless.
We have attempted to bring valuable information on Dalit women and Panchayati Raj in India. This book is a study of Dalit women in Panchayati Raj that focuses on the status and participation of Dalit women in decision making at Panchayati Raj. It enables us to understand the various issues concerning the welfare of Dalit women.