Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-04-99

Nearly 1 Million Women Elected to Indian Village Councils

As a result of a 1993 constitutional amendment that set aside 1/3 of all panchayat seats and village chiefs' positions for women, almost 1 million women have now been elected to village governing boards. Some of these women come from the country's lowest castes, causing an uproar among the country's upper-caste Brahmins.

A government-funded study conducted by the Center for Women's Development Studies in New Delhi purports that fully two-thirds of the newly-empowered women leaders are actively learning about governing and exercising their powers by allocating resources for schools, distributing government aid for housing, and making decision about village infrastructure and development. The remaining third act as mere "public faces" while their husbands make the decisions.

Women leaders, and especially those from poorer classes, face great opposition. Alam Singh, a Brahmin farmer who headed his village before a lower-case woman was set to replace him, described his successor as "stupid" and "illiterate," explaining "The government has turned power upside down."

Government officials have stated that women panchayats are having enjoying the greatest success in areas where there is greater wealth and literacy, and where women have already raised their status. Karnataka, a southern state that in the 1980s initiated a quota system to give village women a voice in government, is one such example. Kerala, where 9 of 10 women are literature, is another example of success.

Media Resources: New York Times - May 3, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/20/2014 North Carolina Board of Elections Eliminates On-Campus Voting Sites Across the State - North Carolina will begin state-wide early voting on Thursday, and unlike the 2012 presidential election, many students across the state will have no polling place on-campus, making it more difficult for students to exercise their right to vote. The North Carolina State Board of Elections recently eliminated the only on-campus voting location for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a campus with more than 20,000 students. . . .
 
10/20/2014 Jay Leno Receives Mark Twain Prize, Salutes Mavis and Her Work for Women's Rights - Former long-time host of "The Tonight Show" Jay Leno saluted his wife, Mavis, for her work on behalf of women's rights around the world when he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this weekend at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The Mark Twain prize is awarded for comedic achievement, and the event, where Leno performed a monologue and paid tribute to the many comedians he has worked with throughout his career, brought together supporters of the The John F. . . .
 
10/20/2014 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Slams Supreme Court for Upholding Voter Suppression in Texas - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a blistering dissent after a ruling by the US Supreme Court this weekend threatened to disqualify more than half a million Texas voters from early voting. In an unsigned order Saturday, a majority of the Supreme Court sided with a Texas law requiring voters to produce specific forms of photo identification in order to cast a ballot in the 2014 election. . . .