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Political Representation and Empowerment: Women in Local Government Institutions in Bihar, India
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to explore whether aquantitative rise in the representation of women in political decision-makingcan transform into qualitative changes in the political empowerment of women.The study develops a theoretical view on the multiple effects of gender quotason empowerment and investigates the factors that facilitate and restrain theentry and participation of women in the political field. This is a study ofwomen representatives in local government institutions in Bihar through qualitativemethods, with the purpose to understand the link between women empowerment andgender quotas. The result of the present study shows that the reservation forwomen can be an important impetus to women’s empowerment in India on villagelevel but it is not a guarantee for participation of the elected women. Thegoal of women’s empowerment will not be accomplished by reservations alone. Toexpedite and speed up this process it is essential to implement somesupplementary policies which encourage the self-confidence of women, buildwomen’s capabilities and remove operational obstacles. On the basis of thepresent study we cannot claim that women are categorically empowered but, onthe other hand, we cannot deny that they have gained a certain extent of authorityand confidence as a direct outcome of the quota. In this respect it appearsthat quotas can be a feasible apparatus for the political empowerment of women.

Keyword [en]
Women empowerment, Gender Quota, Political participation, Bihar, Panchayati Raj, India
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88560OAI: diva2:612067

This research report is an outcome of my post-doctoral research study at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University from 2009 to 2011. The project was financially supported by a research fellowship from the Swedish Institute.

Available from: 2013-03-19 Created: 2013-03-19 Last updated: 2013-03-19

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Rai, Pragya
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