Department of Political Science
Reservations for Women in Panchayati Raj: The Politics of Presence in Pune District
Jana Everett's Fulbright Research Fellowship took her to India in the spring of 2005, where she investigated the politics of presence in the Pune district. Her research examined cirumstances and subsequent results stemming from a 1992 Amendment to the Constitution of India mandate. The amendment stated that one-third of the seats in rural and urban elected local government councils would be reserved for women, and women would serve as chairpersons in one-third of these councils.
Through panchayat (rural local councils) members in Pune District, Maharashtra, Everett interviewed women and men to investigate the implications of this path-breaking policy initiative for women. She found that the presence of women panchayat members encouraged women to bring their concerns to local government and legitimized a public role for rural women. Several female representatives functioned as proxies for their male relatives at that time. However, a critical mass of younger, more educated women representatives was beginning began to emerge. This newer group of women were becoming increasingly confident and articulate.
During her Fulbright, Everett was affiliated with the Women’s Studies Centre, Pune University, and its director, Dr. Vidyut Bhagwat. Everett was assisted in her fieldwork by Mangala Daithankar and Mira Savara, two Indian scholars, who made her experience both personally and intellectually rewarding.
“Meeting so many rural women leaders and organizations working on women’s political mobilization in India were experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
- Jana Everett
PhD, Department of Political Science