Question: “The reservation of seats for women in the institutions of local self government has had limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process”. Comment.
Answer: The reservation of seats for women in local governance was a path breaking act that changed the nature of administration in India. Even though it could not fulfill all the envisioned objectives, it still changed perceptions about role of women in society.
Limited impact of reservation on societal mindset
- Proxy election
Sometimes women are elected only because the seat has been reserved for woman. After election, it is her male family members who run the show. This token election is worthless.
- Lack of respect and appreciation
The women representative is not accorded the respect she deserves. Instead males find it humiliating to listen to them. Their role as a governing entity is always questioned and undermined regularly.
- Failure to get work done
Since the officials are not serious about taking orders from a woman representative, most of the work remains unachieved. This will not create any good results from the act of reservation.
Positive outcomes from reservation in local governance
- On ground awareness of problems
The reservation has allowed women from the ground to participate in governance. Being from the same strata allows them to better understand the problems faced by women and take steps to address them.
Ex: Drinking water problems, Open Defecation etc.
Earlier, in order to participate in governance, women had to be extremely powerful but now due to reservation they can participate in the process by the virtue of reservation. This has empowered women upto certain extent.
- Role models
Young girls can take inspiration from local representatives to better their lives. Local women representative can inspire a whole generation by their act. Not only girls but young boys can learn to respect and appreciate women for their role.
The results from reservation process may not be completely positive but they can be successful if implemented in a better way.
Thus, the role of reservation in negating patriarchal mindset has been partially successful but considering the magnitude of the change and it’s area of implementation, some time needs to be given for getting the required outcomes.