Panchayati Raj and women – UPSC GS1

Critically discuss the role of Panchayat Raj institutions in the empowerment of women. (200 Words)
Panchayati raj institutions are a watershed in India‘s democratic history as they not only percolated democratic decentralisation to the grass root level but also made a giant leap in women empowerment by granting them 33% reservation. This decentralisation model has its own blend of realism and tokenism.
By granting 33% reservation Panchayati raj institutions restored its faith in women leadership. This sent a strong signal to the patriarchal society to correct its stereotypes associated with females. It also provided an opportunity to hitherto deprived low caste women. Its spiral affect boosted women confidence in their abilities and encouraged them to too seek a meaningful role in society. Thus the Model of democratic  decentralisation was well conceived.
While women got political representation, the real power was usurped by their husbands, The Sarpanch Pati‖ depriving them of any meaningful gains. Caste and gender based discrimination are still prevalent and despite earning a political position women are denied their due respect. Widespread illiteracy and ignorance further inhibit their capacity to perform.
Panchayati Raj model should move ahead of its stated objective by proactively realising it on field failures. Capacity enhancement training, legal protection to curb any form of discrimination as well as changing patriarchal mindset by gender sensitive education are need of hour to make panchayati raj model a true success.

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