Moving from Caste System to Class System

Rapid economic growth in India has helped to elevate the status of Dalits – previously known as “untouchables” in the Indian caste system.  A generation ago, Dalits were not allowed to eat the same foods, drink at the same wells or wear the same clothing as members of other castes. Now, many Dalits have opened their own businesses or climbed the corporate ladder, and are earning respect along with increased salaries.

The Indian government has adopted affirmative action measures to create economic opportunities for Dalits. A recent analysis of survey data found that the education gap between other castes and Dalits has been halved, and the wage gap has decreased to 21 percent, less than the gap between white male and black male workers in the United States. Dalits have benefitted from these measures as their social and economic status rises in India.

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Julia Krieger

I have extensive experience coordinating communications and outreach initiatives focused on health and social issues. In my current position as Project Specialist, I provide communications technical assistance to regional and federal efforts within the National Partnership for Action initiative, with support from the Office of Minority Health. I am a former Peace Corps volunteer who worked on health and social affairs projects in the Federated States of Micronesia. Read more.

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