Due to poor socio-economic status of women and prevailing patriarchal set-up, the intended benefit of emergence of women leadership at Panchayat level was not fully realized. The effective political power and decision making is wielded by husbands of elected women representatives. This phenomenon is referred to as ‘sarpanch pati’.
In Indian society Patriarchal mindset is very prevalent and it has resulted in poor socio- economic status of women. The intended benefit of the constitution was not fully gained. Sarpanch Pati is the effective political power and decision making is exercised by the husbands of elected women representatives.
Following are some reasons for the emergence Sarpanch Pati-
- Indian Society is still conservative with respect to women. In Rural areas Tradition of veil is very strong. The veil often hinders their public participation. It has been seen in the North Indian states that women are discouraged in public spaces, even government officials at local level avoid talking to women due to their conservative mindset. It gives a de facto control to the husbands in exercising their power as a Sarpanch. Often it is seen that women are expected to perform the household tasks.
- Although the Government of India has given one third reservation to women and some states even raised it to fifty percent. But at the practical level the efforts are negligible. There is no constructive effort seen in their capacity building, Training or inculcating confidence in them.
- In India women in general have very less excess to education, Society restricts them to domestic spaces, their participation in decision making and finance management is very less.This situation results in them being mere ‘titular heads’ and hampers their ability to challenge male dominance.
- Despite various Governments policies there yet on the ground level reforms are seen negligible. Government failed to bring awareness to women about their rights.
Following are the impacts of the culture of Sarpanch Pati-
- The intended result of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment which was introduced for the empowerment of women can not be achieved. In the societal status of women status-quo is maintained.
- When empowered women such as Sarpanch cannot be a part of decision making then it reduces other women’s ability to participate in socio-economic affairs.
- This also shows the failure of Governance where a policy is framed but its implementation is missing in fact it creates a new kind of challenge such as Sarpanch Pati in the society.
Hence efforts are needed not only at the level of government but at the level of society. Efforts should be taken in raising the society’s awareness about women rights. Administration has to empathise towards the women participation at panchayat level.