Strengthening Women’s Empowerment in Electoral Process

Capacity building of EWRs through the five years election term not only enables them to become political leaders but also makes it possible for them to become effective citizen leaders. While democracy has facilitated opportunity for rural women to participate in decision making processes every five years, some elected women may not find the election term sufficient to implement their visions. In order to curtail the disappointment and enthuse more women to participate, The Hunger Project conducts a pre-election awareness campaign called Strengthening Women’s Empowerment in Electoral Process (SWEEP) with an objective of encouraging women to participate in the electoral process, as voters, election / polling / counting agents, and as candidates. There are some elected women who express the desire to contest for Panchayats for the second or third time and there are some who step back and assume the role of citizen leaders and encourage other women to contest elections. The larger goal is to sustain the energy former EWRs have created in the Panchayats. Experiences of former and / or proficient EWRs help new entrants to analyse, process and manage challenges and constraints. Over the years the number of women re-contesting Panchayat elections has increased, depicting increasing confidence and enthusiasm in participating in and leading local political processes.

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