Intersectionality and Resistance: A Sociological Study of Women Inmates in the Central Prisons of Assam

By Dwijiri Ramchiary

According to the existing pieces of literature, the women inmates, because of their gender, are very vulnerable inside the Indian prisons. Women inmates are being portrayed as victims because their needs are not paid attention to compared to men inmates inside the prison. This research paper aims to understand the experience of women convicts of backward communities inside prison through “intersectional feminism” in their voices. This paper argues that women convicts of backward communities are subjected to discriminatory and authoritative treatment inside the prisons of an Indian state, Assam, despite India’s legal safeguards. Such treatment is based not just on gender but also on ethnicity, caste, class, religion, and nationality. The paper also argues that women convicts resist and express agency despite being inside a total institution wherein different power structures of gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, and nationality subjugate them by stigmatizing and discriminating against them. The research is conducted using the primary method of data collection. During the fieldwork, forty-one women convicts and five prison staff members inside the Central prisons of Assam were interviewed.