Women’s Empowerment in India

From participation to political agency

Women’s empowerment and equal participation in political life is important at all levels of Indian society.

A school outing in Taj Mahal. Photo: Jason Miklian, PRIO

Despite benefitting from reservations, women frequently experience obstacles when they participate in politics. However, to address women’s aspirations for political agency we should explore the emerging opportunities, and not only the challenges. We should also keep in mind that there are multiple aspects of identity, and huge differences in the economic and political status of women, within India as in the rest of the world. ‘Women’ is not a homogenous category that can be defined merely by the need for aid or support.

  • Women’s empowerment is about agency rather than upliftment of women.
  • Women can be active participants in policymaking through diverse ways, not just in party politics.
  • We should explore emerging opportunities as well as obstacles to women’s political agency.
  • Women’s empowerment is a process to stop the violation of rights, end discrimination, and build capacity for voice and choice.
  • The category of ‘women’ is not homogenous, and potentially conceals vast socio-economic and cultural differences.

Read more in a recent Policy Brief from PRIO.

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