Women, Participation and Decentralization: A case study of Forest Resources in Uttarakhand

Rukmani Rukmani


The one-third reservation of seats for women in the local bodies, along with reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in proportion to their regional population was the revolutionary provision of the Seventy-third Constitutional Amendment Act. But women’s participation in formal structures of governance, whether in formal political institutions or other institutions for policy making and implementation, has remained inadequate. The entry and presence of a few women in these structures became a mere symbol of their presence giving the illusion that women are able to enter all spheres of life without any problem. In this paper, through the selected case studies of the local level institutions such as Van Panchayats and Joint Forest Management Committees of Almora, Kumaon Division, Uttarakhand, an attempt has been made to analyze the institutions at the grass root level and how the functioning of these grass root institutions get influenced by the presence of women as a head of the institution. It will also examine the manner in which these arrangements affect collective outcomes in terms of efficiency and equity. The study of Van Panchayats has illustrated questions of overarching bureaucratic influence and ‘the politics of presence’ remain pertinent if decentralization has to achieve its radical potential.


Women, Participation and Decentralization, Forest Resources

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