The Hunger Project (THP) has been working in Maharashtra with a focus on social mobilization, building mass based cadres, capacity enhancement, building block level women’s organizations, media workshops & advocacy and alliance building with other like-minded organizations.
Maharashtra is perhaps the only state in India where all the Panchayats do not go to poll at one go. Twenty percent of the Panchayats go to polls at any given time. Over 1, 00,000 women have been elected to Panchayats in the state of which approximately 10,000 are Sarpanches.
Another unique aspect of Panchayats in Maharashtra is a ‘Women’s Gram Sabha’. These gram sabhas are held prior to the general Gram Sabha. The issues raised by the Women’s Gram Sabha have to be ratified by the general Gram Sabha.
Some of the broad issues affecting women’s leadership in Maharashtra are:
- Lack of cooperation from the Gram Panchayat secretary (Gram Sevak) and shortage of Women Gram Panchayat secretaries
- Poor implementation of policies & law by bureaucracy
- Nexus between the Gram Panchayat members & the administration
- Division of tenure between two women Sarpanches
- Atrocities on elected women representatives and women in general