Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Adrienne Martin

Rights Information

2023 Amanda L Goldman


Caste and gender oppression are two systems of domination that continue to affect the lives of lower-caste women living in India. Both the caste system and the patriarchy were created to rationalize a hierarchical division of labor in which lower-caste women are subordinated. The best way to understand the reasoning behind these systems of oppression, as well as the impact of them, is through an intersectional historical materialist perspective. This perspective can be utilized when analyzing the evolution of caste and women’s rights in India, specifically focusing on the changes brought on by British Imperialism. This analysis reveals that decisions made by those in places of power – whether that be men, upper-caste individuals, or British imperialists – are made in an effort to preserve their modes of production and keep the set division of labor intact. In India, Dalit women find themselves at the intersection of caste and gender oppression, and thus, at the bottom of the hierarchical division of labor, being both of low-caste status (predominantly Untouchables) and women. The most effective way to improve Dalit women’s well-being is by improving their material conditions. In doing this, the division of labor is impacted and Dalit women gain greater agency, making them more capable of pursuing social and political change.