Exploring Gender and Caste Intersectionality among Muslims: A Sociological Study


  • Rabiya Yaseen Bazaz Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, Pin 202002, India
  • Mohammad Akram Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, Pin 202002, India




Key word: Gender, Caste, Education, Employment, Patriarchy



Caste studies conducted among Muslims in India generally focus on establishing the existence of caste system among Muslims but they seldom talk about different types of oppression and inequalities faced byMuslim women.This empirical study exploreshow gender and caste identities and their mutual intersectionality impact education,occupation and income choices and actual attainments of Muslim women.


This study is part of a larger study conducted among Muslims of Kashmir in India.Primary datawas collected from 704 eligible respondents (Male=392, Female=312) using mixed methods. Three layers of ‘caste like’ and ‘caste’ groups existing in the research area are identified and gender situation within these groups are comparatively examined.


Each of the ‘caste like’ and ‘caste’ groupshas patriarchal caste capital.Higher professions within the government and private services are largely acquired by upper caste male Muslims or other male and female Muslims having rich cultural and social capital. There is preponderance of lower caste male Muslims in low income self-employment but lower caste Muslim females seldom find say in family based business and compelled to join low paid private jobs. More than fifty percent educated Muslim females are unemployed.


Although patriarchy is the general rule here, not all women face discrimination and inequality in the same way. Upper caste Muslim women often witness so called benevolent restriction of choices whereas lower caste women are the most excluded and marginalised section of the society who face double discrimination due to patriarchy and interwoven caste positions which severely impacts their educational as well as employment choices and attainments. 


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Rabiya Yaseen Bazaz, Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, Pin 202002, India

Dr. Rabiya Yaseen Bazaz has completed her Ph.D. in Sociology from Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. She has recently joined as Lecturer of Women's Studies at Centre for Women's Studies and Research, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. She has published research papers on gender, education, employment and work related topics. Her recent research papers got published in journals like Journal of Education Culture and Society, The Eastern Anthropologist and Education. 

Mohammad Akram, Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, Pin 202002, India

Prof. Mohammad Akram has completed his Masters and Ph.D. in Sociology and working as Professor of Sociology at Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. His areas of interest are education, social policies and health. He has authored books like Sociology of Health, Sociology of Sanitation, Tribal Health and few others. His recent papers got published in Economic and Political Weekly, Social Change, Journal of Education Culture and Society and Sociological Bulletin.


Acharya, S. S. (2018). Health equity in India: an examination through the lens of social exclusion. Journal of Social Inclusion Studies 4(1), 104–130.

Acker, J. (2006). Inequality regimes: gender, class and race in organizations. Gender and Society. 20 (4), 441–464.

Ahmed, I. (1978). Caste social stratification among Muslims in India. Manohar Publications.

Ahmad, Z. (1962). Muslim caste in Uttar Pradesh. The Economic Weekly, 14(7), 325-336.

Althusser, L. (1971). Ideology and ideological state Apparatuses. In L. Althusser (Ed.), Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (pp.127–186). Monthly Review Press (Orig. pub. 1970).

Anderson, M.L., & Tylor, H.R. (2008). Sociology: understanding a diverse society. Thomson.

Bailey, F. G. (1957). Caste and the economic frontier: A village in highland Orissa. Manchester University Press.

Bazaz, R. Y. (2020). Education and employment generation: a sociological study of district Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. unpublished thesis submitted in Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India.

Bazaz, R. Y., & Akram, M. (2017). Education and unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir: a study on embedding employability into the educational curriculum.The Eastern Anthropologists. 70(3-4), 285-300.

Bazaz, R. Y.,& Akram. M. (2020). Background characteristics of the individuals attaining higher education in India: a sociological study of Srinagar city.” Journal of Education, Culture and Society,11(2), 252-266.

Bhattacharya, R.K. (1978). The concept and ideology of caste among the Muslims of rural West Bengal. In I. Ahmed (Ed.), Caste Social Stratification among Muslims in India (pp. 269-298). Manohar.

Bougle, C. (1958). The essence and reality of caste system, Contribution to Indian Sociology, 11 (1),7-30.

Bourdieu, P. (2016). The forms of capital. In Alan R. Sadovnik and Ryan W. Coughlan (Ed.), Sociology of education: A critical reader (pp. 83-95). Routledge.

Census of India, (2011). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India Ministry of Human Affairs, Government of India.

Chand, S. V. (1994) Caste, gender and subjectivity in contemporary India, Women: a cultural review.Women: A Cultural Review, 5(1), 25-33

Dabla, B.A. (2009). Ethnicity in Kashmir: studies in culture, religion, economy and social structure. Jay Kay Books.

Dabla, B. A. (2012). Directory of caste in India in Kashmir. Jaykay books.

Gruber, J. E. (1998). The impact of male work environments and organizational policies on women’s experiences of sexual harassment.Gender & Society, 12(3): 301-320.

Gupta, N. (2019). Intersectionality of gender and caste in academic performance: quantitative study of an elite Indian engineering institute. Gender, Technology and Development, 23(2), 165-186.

Hirway, I. (2015). Inclusive growth under a neoliberal policy framework: some critical questions. In P. Balakrishnan (Ed.), Economic Growth and its Distribution in India: Essays from Economic and Political Weekly (pp.337-355). Orient Black Swan.

Holmes, M. (2007). What is gender? Sociological approaches. Sage.

Jamil, G, (2018). Muslim women speak of dreams and shackles. Sage

Lawrence, R. (1891). The valley of Kashmir. Oxford University Press.

Mines, M. (1978). Caste stratification among the Muslim Tamils in Tamil Nadu, South India. In I. Ahmed (Ed.), Caste Social Stratification among Muslims in India (pp. 159-169). New Delhi.

Mondal, S. R. (2003). Social structure, OBCs and Muslims. Economic and Political Weekly, 38(46), 4892-4897.

Myrdal, G.,& King. (1972). Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations. Harmondsworth: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press.

Oakley, A. (1974). Housewife. Allen Lane

Pathania, G. J., & Tierney, W. G. (2018). An ethnography of caste and class at an Indian university: creating capital. Tertiary Education and Management, 24(3), 221-231.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford Publication.

Sinha, K.S. (2003). J&K anthropological survey of India. Monohara Publication.

Smith, V. (2013). Sociology of work: an encyclopedia Sage Publication

Sudarshan, R. M. (2016). Enabling equality: girls’s education, social norms and community interventions. In A. K Singh (Ed.), Education and Empowerment in India (pp. 141-154). Routledge

Velaskar, P. (1990). Unequal schooling as a factor in the reproduction of inequality in India. Sociological Bulletin, 39(1-2), 131-45.

Velaskar, P. (2016). “Theorising the interaction of caste, class and gender: a feminist sociological approach.” Contributions to Indian Sociology, 50 (3), 389–414

Wolkowitz, C. (2006). Bodies at Work. Sage.

Zainuddin, S. (2003). Islam, social stratification and empowerment of Muslims OBCs. Economic and political Weekly, 38(56), 4898-4901.




How to Cite

Bazaz, R. Y. ., & Akram, M. (2021). Exploring Gender and Caste Intersectionality among Muslims: A Sociological Study. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 12(2), 190–210. https://doi.org/10.15503/jecs2021.2.190.210