20 Jan women reservation in panchayat
women reservation in panchayat- Today Current Affairs
In order to bolster women empowerment , increased political awareness, self-confidence, and involvement in development and social issues can be achieved by giving reservation to women in Panchayati institutions of the region. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, 1992 proved to be catalytic, introducing quite 15 lakh women into leadership positions in India’s local administration. These amendments, among other things, handed over the batons of power to the population at the panchayat level with one-third reservation of seats and crucial positions within the panchayat for women.
In addition to the above, these amendments also made it indispensable for all states to hold gram panchayat and municipal elections and empowered these bodies to undertake development activities at the local level. As of now, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal have increased their reservation benchmarks for women in their PRIs to 50%. States like Karnataka have quite 50% women representatives in PRIs, which is implicational the fact that more and more women are now emerging victorious in wards that were not reserved for them. The Hindu Analysis.
However, within the majority of cases, increased political representation has not translated into actual transfer of power. Women in PRIs act merely as a rubber stamp, while their husbands actually call the shots. These sarpanch/pradhan/mukhiya–patis (husbands) encourage women to file for nominations and later discourage them from involving themselves in governance. Women are nothing more than proxies. They do not attend panchayat meetings and continue to have a lack of agency. Those who do, face trivialisation and ostracisation by male members of the panchayat. Several reasons could be accorded to the same; the most important being the lack of literacy. The high prevalence of illiteracy among rural women is one of the most pertinent reasons for proxy politics in those areas. It is because of this impediment that women stand as mute spectators instead of being involved in policy formulation and the tasks of the gram panchayat. As per Census 2011, only 58% of females in rural areas were literate as compared to 77% of their male counterparts. This proportion was further abysmal for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes, with literacy rate among them being 53%, as against 72% among males. Another important obstruction towards ameliorated female leadership in panchayats is the male-dominated fabric of the society and the subsequent “all-men ” institution that act as impediments for women working or coordinating with them in a participatory development approach. This is one of the crucial reasons why men tend to look after the panchayat work related to government approval, thus sidelining women and, subsequently, becoming “pradhan pati.” It, therefore, entails that political empowerment does not necessarily mean only putting power in the hands of women but also creating an ecosystem where they can sustain and coordinate with others, thus building their political network to the next level. Financial constraints, pre-defined gender roles, and notoriously low salaries and incentives are some other factors that hinder the active participation of women in rural governance and policy making.
Investing in women’s right to political participation is a necessary precursor to achieving global gender equality and democratic governance. A spiraling body of research suggests that women legislators outperform their male counterparts in the policymaking arena. Evidence suggests that female leaders play an important role in improving the quality of representation of both males and females, are more productive and active, are more efficient in fundraising and effective allocation of resources, and are more inclusive and gender-sensitive. It is imperative to adopt both the trickle-down and the bottom-up approaches in order to encourage the active participation of women in policymaking. In addition to fixing quotas for women in parliamentary and legislative assemblies, there is a need to increase awareness and recognition of the importance of women’s participation in the political process at the community level and ensure greater involvement of marginalized women, including indigenous women, women with disabilities, and those belonging to minority communities. The Hindu Anaysis.
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