|Title||ROLE OF WOMEN IN GRAM PANCHAYATS: A NEW PERSPECTIVE OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT|
Prof. (Dr.) Isheeta Rutabhasini
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, INDIA
Women when economically and socially empowered become a potent force for change in any society. The Government of India recognized it when they declared 33% reservation for women in the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (Panchayati Raj Institutions). In majority of the developing countries, including India women play a crucial role in running households and make substantial contributions to agricultural production. The inequality that exists between men and women makes it difficult for them to fulfill their potential. Lack of education, unequal property rights and limited control over resources hinder their contribution in development. Any society marred by poverty must immediately empower its women in order to prosper and grow. Decentralisation is the key to development and Gram Panchayat is the most important pillar of the three-tier system practiced in India. It is a medium through which the rural people can express their social, economic and administrative problems to the state and central level institutions. This paper is an attempt to study the role of women in Gram Panchayats. Since the government has announced the reservation of seats, it would be interesting to analyze the impact of women administrators at grassroot level. There has been skepticism that women Panchayat members are proxy administrators. If we are able to successfully adhere to the reservation policy and encourage women to participate in the Panchayati Raj system they would develop the much needed confidence to resist any attempt of social oppression,family exploitation and the ability to suffer in silence. Such political empowerment in a male-dominated society will act as a deterrence in the further exploitation of women.