The question “Discuss the contribution of civil society groups for women’s effective and meaningful participation and representation in state legislatures in India." was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 2. Let us look at the model answer to this question.
Answer: The representation of women in Indian politics has been low for many years. Despite making up nearly half of the Indian population, women have been underrepresented at various levels of politics. However, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to promote gender equality and increase the participation of women in politics in India.
Contribution of civil society groups for women’s effective and meaningful participation and representation in state legislatures in India:
- Awareness and Advocacy: Civil society groups raise awareness about gender disparities in political representation and advocate for policies that promote women's participation in state legislatures.
- For example, Association of democratic reforms educates women’s participation in elections, and also encourages voter participation.
- Bring about Policy change: Various campaigns have been launched in support of Women reservation bills which offer 33% reservation in both Parliament and State legislatures.
- For example, K Kavitha-led Bharat Jagruthi has held various agitations in favour of implementing the women’s reservation bill.
- Legal Reforms: Civil society organizations play a pivotal role in advocating for legal reforms, such as reserving seats for women in panchayats and municipal bodies through constitutional amendments like the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
- Capacity Building: They conduct training programs and workshops to enhance the leadership and political skills of women, enabling them to contest elections and engage effectively in legislative processes.
- For example, the National foundation for India promotes leadership among women by providing awards and opportunities, providing dialogue to all stakeholders, etc.
- Research-Based Policy Advocacy: They conduct research to identify systemic challenges and propose evidence-based policy recommendations to improve women's participation.
- For example, the Centre for Social Research, an advocacy group for women conducts research on status of women empowerment and inclusiveness. Grassroot Mobilization
Therefore, civil society groups have played a pivotal role in catalyzing women's effective and meaningful participation and representation in India's state legislatures. Their multifaceted contributions, ranging from advocacy and awareness-building to legal reforms and grassroots mobilization, have significantly reshaped the political landscape by breaking down traditional gender barriers.