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The Influence of Architecture on Women: Looking at Chandigarh

Part 1 Dissertation 2011
Baljit Panesar
University of Lincoln, UK
The dynamic correlations between gender studies and architecture are very contemporary, and these are breaking new ground in India. This dissertation looks at the Influence of architecture on women in Chandigarh, by examining the Western influences on India, as well as those in the rise of the city.

The planned capital of Punjab, by Le Corbusier in 1947, has grand gestures which are evocative of India’s past, and that connects well with the “true India” (Brooks and Tzoniz, 1983a, p.8). The design for the new city was produced by Western architects in very Western and modern manners. This had impacted on the way the housing was designed, which inevitably had an effect on the role of the woman in the home, as the lifestyles of the Occident varied tremendously to the Orient.

To the present day there is a huge variation with gender differences in terms of equality. Women often face many predicaments concerning difficult relationships with their spouses and extended family. The city of Chandigarh made a change in the housing policy, which entitled women to be jointly named under the deeds, giving them equal rights with their husbands in the matter of housing (Datta, 2006, p.271).The exploration of the Indian woman and home was essential, as the changes in the urban policy of the city had made others regard the voices of women.

These changes have allowed women to stand up for their right to fairness and equality which had been demonstrated by the Western ideas and concepts (Datta, 2006, p.293). The house is a means of security for married women, which reduces the frequency of the sales of properties due to the part ownership of women. It gives them a voice which allows them to stand up to their partners and extended family, especially when living under the same roof. The “house,” does not necessarily mean the structure or building itself but the documentation and deeds. It encourages a change in the “static” nature of communities and brings forth a better position for women.

Baljit Panesar

Jane Lomholt
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