Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1.2 million elected women in India

India has 1.2 million women elected to office - primarily in the village panchayats.

Beena Devi is one of many. More precisely, she is one of 1.2 million. That's the number of elected women representatives in rural India, the largest anywhere in the world.

It's not just about numbers. Village women appear to be genuinely empowered by election to panchayats. Or so says the first AC Nielsen-ORG Marg study commissioned by the ministry of Panchayati Raj. The study has found that 15 years after the 73rd Amendment Act of the Constitution reserved one-third of all panchayat seats for women, they are a force to reckon with. Even more encouraging, it found that they have emerged from the shadows of their male patrons.