Broad Issues Affecting Women's Leadership In Bihar

Patriarchy – Patriarchy has been an unbeaten challenge in the context of Bihar when it comes to promote women leadership. It is so deeply inherited that women keep a distance from entering into political arena. It can also be understood from the study on the ‘gender based violence against the women candidates in Panchayat Elections 2006’. This inherited value makes it difficult for the women leaders to participate in the decision making process.

Corruption – It is a well known evil practice that exists in every system and institution either in a visible or non-visible form. In Bihar, where the power lies with patriarchal values, the power of negotiation and decision making is partially held with women leaders. They find it very difficult to challenge and remove the existing corruption in bureaucracy and implementation of schemes like IAY, NREGA, and others.

Lack of Opportunities for Capacity Building – Though the women representatives have been provided 50 percent reservation, they have not been trained enough to run Panchayats effectively. However, there is need to focus on further interventions with regard to promoting the leadership of women in the Panchayats effectively in the run-up to the next elections and the tenure following the same. This should include engaging actively with the elected women through their daily activities in their Panchayats during the inter-phase period between training sessions by providing relevant information and guidance. This should be accompanied by providing support structures / systems to the elected women to tide over situations of conflict (often leading to violence) that is so rampant in the State of Bihar.

Weak Economic Condition – The women representatives in Bihar are mostly economically backward. They are not even paid suitable and regular honorarium for their work. They mostly depend on their family for domestic needs. In such a situation, pressure is more on women leaders to earn money rather than to build their political career and gain political awareness.

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