Women in Leadership Role – UPSC GS1

 Role of female leaders in pandemic
  • Germany, Taiwan and New Zealand have women heading their governments.
  • Three countries seem to have managed the pandemic much better than their neighbours.
  • A detailed recent study by researchers in the United States reports that States which have female governors had fewer COVID-19 related deaths.
  • The authors of the study conclude that women leaders are more effective than their male counterparts in times of crises.

 Role of women as pradhans in gram panchayats

  • Women leaders perform significantly better than men in implementing policies that promote the interests of women.
  • This was demonstrated in study conducted by Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo and co-author Raghabendra Chattopadhyay.
  • They used the system of mandated reservations of pradhans in gram panchayats to test the effectiveness of female leadership.
  • Study concluded that pradhans invested more in rural infrastructure that served better the needs of their own gender.
  • This is also an important goal from the perspective of gender equality.

 Underrepresentation of women in politics

  • Female members make up only about 10% of the total ministerial strength in India.
  • The underrepresentation of female Ministers in India is also reflected in the fact that there is only one female Chief Minister.
  • Despite this, women constitute just over 14% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.
  • This gives us the dismal rank of 143 out of 192 countries for which data are reported by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

 State of Women’s Reservation Bill

  • Women running for elections face numerous challenges, it is essential to create a level-playing field through appropriate legal measures.
  • Attempts have also been made to extend quotas for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies through a Women’s Reservation Bill.
  •  Male members from several parties opposed the Bill on various pretexts.
  • Although the Rajya Sabha did pass the bill in 2010, the Lok Sabha and the State legislatures are yet to give their approval.
  • 24 years that have passed since it was first presented in the Lok Sabha.

 Way forward

  • Political parties can sidestep the logjam in Parliament by reserving say a third of party nominations for women.


There is substantial evidence showing that increased female representation in policy making goes a long way in improving perceptions about female effectiveness in leadership roles. This decreases the bias among voters against women candidates, and results in a subsequent increase in the percentage of female politicians contesting and winning elections.
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