Gendered Spaces: A Study of Kitchen and Ancillary Spaces in Nair Households of Travancore, Kerala


Space had always been a hidden dimension moulding human actions and interactions. Gender and the socially constructed norms regarding performance of gender are produced by human actions and reinforced by human interactions and when space in turn provides a platform for the gender to be performative, it can be derived that space and gender co create each other. It is always said that the worst disparity is the division of public realm for men and the private realm for women. But how can we turn a blind eye towards the much worse division of men and women within a household or within a family. Kitchen, which was regarded as the heart of a house from times unknown, was one of the understudied gendered domestic spaces. The way how women were confined and contained in a space like kitchen to keep them away from public participation, which was a sole right of men cannot be praised in any era. By investigating between the available resources, documentations and archives about the traditional Nair Tharavadus and spatial configuration of houses constructed recently, and studying the kitchens of both and comparing, it was seen that there is a considerable relationship between the spatial qualities of kitchen and the existing gender hierarchy in the society. Based on the study a diachronic analysis was also carried out to trace the changes in kitchen as the social order and gender hierarchy has attained a slight change with time.


Fasila Backer
Student, Architecture, College of Engineering Trivandrum, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society



Digital Media

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