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Presence into Participation and Representation

Sreevidya Kalaramadam

Journal of South Asian Development, 2018, vol. 13, issue 1, 1-23

Abstract: Over the last two decades, women’s ‘political participation’ has emerged as a major marker of democracy around the world. This is frequently operationalized through the policy of ‘gender quotas’ that seek to enhance women’s presence within national and subnational institutions of governance. Since 1993, India has implemented a large programme of decentralization (panchayati raj) and gender quotas, which enabled more than a million elected women representatives (EWRs) to become part of the political process. This article engages feminist theorizations of gender quotas using the Indian context. While affirming the need for gender quotas for increasing presence of women in politics, it argues that the presence of EWRs in local governance does not easily assure their effective political participation or political representation. This is because of the ‘social embeddedness of policy’ in local contexts. Effective participation and representation depend upon the ‘relative agency’ of EWRs who continually negotiate and construct their political subjectivities within everyday life situations, specifically three processes—patriarchal family relations, caste relations at the workplace and discursively produced marked identities.

Keywords: Gender quotas; political participation; panchayati raj; representation; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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