Women legislators in India raise economic performance in their constituencies

  • In 1994, India ratified the 73rd and the 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution, granting women 1/3 reservation in rural and urban democratic bodies.
  • There are 13.72 lakh elected women representatives (EWRs) in PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions) which constitute 44.2 per cent of total elected representatives (ERs) as on December, 2017.
  • Women sarpanchs accounted for 43 per cent of total gram panchayats (GPs) across the country, exhibiting active leadership of women in local government.
  • There is documented evidence both at the international level and at the gram panchayat (village) level to suggest that a greater representation of women in elected office balances the process and prioritizations that elected bodies focus on.
  • In terms of policy styles, for instance, the inclusion of women adds behind the scenes discussion rather than direct confrontation on the floor of the House.
  • In terms of agenda(as measured in Rwanda), a wider range of family issues get tackled.
  • Esther Duflo and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay (NBER Working Paper 8615) showed that in a randomised trial in West Bengal, women pradhans(heads of village panchayats) focus on infrastructure that is relevant to the needs of rural women, suggesting that at least at the local level outcomes can be different.
  • The role model effect also erases the gender disparity in educational attainment of young girls.
  • A study by IndiaSpend reported women panchayat leadersin Tamil Nadu invested 48 percent more money than their male counterparts in building roads and improving access.
  • Another study by the United Nationsfound that women-led panchayats delivered 62 percent higher drinking water projects than those led by men.