Role of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions

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The important role played by women during freedom struggle unshackled the limitations put on women forcibly the Indian society and this resulted in the country run by one belonging to the same sex, with equal power and influence as any other male leader. Indian politics has always been influenced a lot by the women in our country. With the gigantic population like ours, of course, half of the population rightfully claimed their place in the society by leading small towns to cities. Thus a woman having political freedom is part of the Constitutional India.

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However, despite these specific rights reserved for us, women are still struggling to run in par with their male competitions. With a male dominated society like ours, political struggle is just another fight the women of our country engage themselves in. There is an urgent and immediate need to improve the position of women in Indian politics. However, having gone unnoticed for a long time, it was time for a substantial change. This change came through the 73rd amendment which introduced the idea of reservation of 33% seats in the local self- government. Now, one might feel that this change is quite small, what with the insignificance of local government in metropolitan cities. But what we fail to understand is that this type of government is the root or the start of a much bigger cause. With the reservation coming into existence, millions of women engaged themselves in active participation in the local government, thinking that this might help them to get noticed and work for the welfare of the female force of their localities. But only mere inflow of women in politics is not enough. What matters is the quality of their work. It might be that due to their years of inexperience, their level of work is a frequent question that arises in many of our minds, but one should not forget that their rate of learning and contribution at this stage is remarkable.

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Panchayati Raj institutions have long been part of our economic and political system as it is the most direct way of getting in touch with the complaints and conditions of the disadvantaged sections of the society, namely the scheduled castes, the scheduled tribes and of course, women.

With women in power now, many social elitists feel threatened because of their loss of power in society. Undermining women has always been part of their job but now that women have gained power, this threat brings along a positive and negative aspect into society- Positive aspect being the increasing role of females in our male dominated society and negative aspect being the new kinds of reasons of threats which are directed at the women population like mental and physical atrocities and domestic violence. Sometimes, the decisions of women are also altered by the influence of the males in her family.

The time has come to let go of restrained male chauvinistic ideals and incorporate in our lives democratic ideals, which in fact, should be followed as directed by the constitution. The place of women in local bodies has brought immediate crimes and discomforts facing a family in front of our eyes like sanitation, domestic violence, etc. These issues are generally avoided by males as these do not concern them but since women are generally at the receiving ends of these attacks; their awareness has already started to bring about a significant chance in these conditions. Women make sure that the children and girls particularly have a chance at acquiring what the women of older generations could not. Many a times, ignorance results in females making wrong decisions about their life like committing to child marriages due to the pressure of their families. Nowadays, young women have become more knowledgeable and aware and take a strong stance against crimes.

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Moreover, the relationship of citizens with the Panchayat has become more flexible and strong. Due to the presence of women in local bodies, many females now find the Panchayat more amicable and are free to share their problems with people who can guide them.

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Even after considering these changes, it is important to understand that many female are elected without any proper backing and end up being representatives of her father or in-laws. Therefore it is extremely important that the women are given proper training in education, networking and politics, so that they become more efficient and raise an active voice against atrocities. Along with it, the Women’s Reservation Bill (108th amendment) that is still in the state of ‘pending’ should take some course. Women of India should take a stand against the delay and unjustifiable action that has been taken against the Bill. This reservation is a much needed one and the success of the reservation in the local bodies should affect the passing of the Bill. The passing of this Bill will prove that the sensitization towards women not only remains in a printed document but genuinely takes place in the lives of all women in our society.

 

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