Empowerment of Women through Panchayati Raj Institutions: A Critical Analysis

Sudipta Biswas

Abstract


Empowerment of women is essentially the process of upliftment of economic, social and political status of women, the traditionally underprivileged ones, in the society. It involves the building up of a society wherein women can breathe without the fear of oppression, exploitation, apprehension, discrimination and the general feeling of persecution which goes with being a woman in a traditionally male dominated structure. Political participation of women can be viewed as one of the proven strategies for the empowerment of women. Panchayat being the nearest form of government to the people can play instrumental role in their empowerment by ensuring effective participation of them. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment ushered in a major change in the history of Panchayats making provision for the reservation of women. But a number of studies have proved that reservation alone cannot ensure participation of women in political decision making process leading towards their empowerment.  Though it has made a positive impact but still there is long way to go. A concerted effort from multiple government and non-government actors including CSOs and media has to be made by adopting multi-pronged strategies to achieve that goal. This paper has made an attempt to analyse the concept of empowerment, how to measure it, strategies for empowerment of women and assess the role of Panchayats in participation as well as empowerment of women and also suggest some effective measures to achieve that goal. The study is based on secondary data collected from different sources like study reports, government reports, books, journals and web based materials.


Keywords


Elected Women Representatives, Empowerment, EWR, Panchayats, Participation, PRIs.

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References


Books:

 Alok, V.N. (2011). Empowerment of Panchayats by the States through Devolution: An Empirical Assessment 2010-11. New Delhi, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and IIPA.

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Conference Paper:

Mathew, G. (2003): Keynote address in the workshop on "A Decade of Women's Empowerment through Local Governance" organized jointly by Institute of Social Sciences and South Asia Partnership, Canada sponsored by International Development Research Centre.

Journals:

 Kudva, N. (2003). Engineering Elections: The Experiences of Women in "Panchayati Raj" in Karnataka, India. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 16, No. 3, Toward Gender Equity: Policies and Strategies (Spring, 2003), pp. 445-463.

 Martha, B. (2007). Education and Empowerment of Women: Some Critical Issues, SHSS, No.2, 2007.

Reports:

 Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) 2008: A Study of Elected Women Representatives in PRIs; GoI, New Delhi.

 Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) 2009: State of Panchayati Raj Report (2008-09), GoI, New Delhi.

 Ministry of Women & Child Development. (2001). National Policy for Empowerment of Women.

 Ministry of Women and Child Development. (2009). Gendering Human Development Indices: Recasting the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure for India. GoI. New Delhi.

 Nagrajan H. K, Bans P. Biswanger – Mkhize and S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram (forthcoming) – Decentralisation and Empowerment for Rural Development. The Case of India – NCAER, Cambridge University Press as referred in Towards Holistic Panchayat Raj, Volume I, April 2013, MoPR.

 National Productivity Council (2005). State Gender Development Report 2005. New Delhi.

Web Materials:

 UNDP (1995). Human Development report, 1995.

 UNDP (2010). Human Development Report, 2010.

 UNDP (2013). Human Development Report, 2013.

 World Bank (2002). Measuring Women’s Empowerment as a Variable in International Development.

 World Economic Forum (2015). The Global Gender Gap Report, 2015.


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