This collection of essays and excerpts brings together, for the first time, a range of writings on the issue of affirmative action for increasing the presence of women in Parliament and legislative assemblies in India. A comprehensive coverage of the debate from historical, theoretical, practical and political perspectives locates the discussions in India within the larger global context.
The proposals discussed range from the reservation of seats in Parliament through quotas in party lists, to double-member constituencies.
Analysis of womenâ€™s experience as policy-makers in local government following the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Indian Constitution are an important argument for extending legal measures to ensure the greater participation of women in the parliament. This book is invaluable to all those interested in the cause of women's enhanced representation in formal politics.
LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS:
1. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay is Professor of Business Environment and Member of Faculty in the Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta since 1987. At present he is conducting a joint research on gender inequalities and quality of life in Indian villages with Professor Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, Petia Topalova and Lori Beaman. He is also working on research projects on Rajasthan Police Reform, and the impact of micro-financing on the rural poor in India, with Professors Abhijit Banerjee and E. Duflo, both of MIT, USA.
2. Meena Dhanda is head of Philosophy at the University of Wolverhampton, where she has taught since 1992. She did her DPhil in Philosophy at Oxford on 'The Negotiation of Personal Identity' and was a member of the editorial board of Women's Philosophy Review for several years. Her publications include : 'L'eveil des intouchables en Inde' (1993), 'Openness, Identity and Acknowledgement of Persons' (1994), Theorising with a Practical Intent : Philosophy, Politics and Communication', an interview with Professor Iris Marion Young (2000), 'Bringing us into Twenty-first Century Feminism, with Joy and Wit', an interview with Professor Michele Le Doeuff (2002), 'The invisible power of piety wearing stilettos' (2006), 'What does the veil make me, and her?' (forthcoming). She is currently working on a project on dalit identity.
3. Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a co-founder and director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and on the board of directors of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD). She is the director of the development economics programme at the Centre of Economic Policy Research. She is the recipient of the American Economic Association's Elaine Bennett Prize for Research (2003) and Le Monde's Cercle des economistes Best Young French Economist Prize (2005). She is currently the inaugural editor of the American economic journal : Applied Economics.
4. Nandita Gandhi is Co-Director and Managing Trustee of Akshara, a women's resource centre in Mumbai and has been active in the women's movement. Her publications include 'Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom: Creating Alternative Classification Systems' and 'Quilting The Net: An Experiment With Online Learning' (200.3). Dr Gandhi is the author of When the Rolling Pins Hit the Streets : Women in the Anti Price Rise Movement in Maharashtra (1996), and also co-author, with Nandita Shah, of Issues at Stake : Theory and Practice in the Contemporary Women's Movement in India (1992), and 'Inter Movement Dialogues : Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges' (2006).
5. R. Geetha is a social and political activist. Based in Chennai, she is the South Regional Coordinator, National Campaign Committee for Unorganised Sector Workers.
6. Mary E. John, Director of the Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi, has been active in the fields of women's studies and feminist politics. She was Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Women's Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi from 2001-2006. Her publications include Discrepant Dislocations : Feminism, Theory and Post-colonial Histories, (1996), A Question of Silence? The Sexual Economies of Modern India (co-edited with Janaki Nair, 2000), French Feminism : An Indian Anthology (co-edited with Danielle Haas-Dubosc et al., 2002), Contested Transformations : Changing Economies and Identities in Contemporary India, (co-edited with Praveen Kumar Jha and Surinder S. Jodhka, 2006), Women's Studies in India : A Reader (forthcoming, 2008).
7. Madhu Purnima Kishwar is Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi and Director of its Indie Studies Project. She is the founder editor of Manushi-a Journal about Women and Society published since 1979. In recent years her work has centred on issues relating to laws, liberty and livelihoods as well as activist interventions for policy reform for street vendors and cycle rickshaw pullers. Her numerous publications include Religion at the Service of Nationalism and Other Essays (1998), Off the Beaten Track : Rethinking Gender Justice for Indian Women (1999), Rashtriyata ki Chakri Mein Dharm (Hindi, 2005) and Deepening Democracy : Challenges of Governance and Globalisation in India (2005). Kishwar has also conceptualised and anchored several television programmes and made documentaries dealing with current political issues.
8. Stephanie Tawa Lama-Rewal is Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of India and South Asia (CNRS-EHESS, Paris), presently detached to the Centre de Sciences Humaines de New Delhi. She works on the political representation of groups (more particularly women) in India and Nepal. Her publications include, 'The Hindu Goddess and Women's Political Representation in South Asia : Symbolic Resource or Feminine Mystique?' in Revue Internationale de Sociologie (2001), Femmes et politique en Inde et au Nepal : Image et presence, (2004), and Democratization in Progress : Women and Local Politics in Urban India (with Archana Ghosh, 2005).
9. Vina Mazumdar taught Political Science at the Universities of Patna and Berhampur. She was Director, Programme of Women's Studies, Indian Council of Social Science Research for five years (1975-80) and also Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. As Member Secretary of the Committee on the Status of Women in India in 1974, she drafted the Towards Equality report, which has been the turning point, both for women's studies and the women's movement in India. As co-founder of the Centre for Women's Development Studies in Delhi, she was its Director for many years and is currently its Senior Fellow.
10. Nivedita Menon is a feminist scholar and political theorist who has published widely in Indian and international academic journals. She is currently Reader in the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. Menon has been involved in a wide range of political and social movements, especially against the rise of sectarian politics and the mass displacement of workers. She is the author of Recovering Subversion : Feminist Politics beyond the Law (2004), and the editor of Gender and Politics in India (1999), and Sexualities (2007).
11. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) born Sarojini Chattopadhyay, was educated in Chennai, King's College, London, and Cambridge. In 1898, breaking the bonds of caste, she married Dr M.G. Naidu. Her poetry published in three volumes-The Golden Threshold (1905), The Bird of Time (1912), and The Broken Wing, (1915)-was written in English but deals, in a romantic vein, with Indian themes. She was active in the Indian National Congress and in 1925 became its first woman president. She was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, and served as governor of the United Provinces (1947-49).
12. Medha Nanivadekar is Director, Centre for Women's Studies at Shivaji University Kolhapur, India and a professional lecturer at the Women and Politics Institute, USA. She has conducted research with the Institute comparing women's political empowerment in the US and India, focusing on the role of women's organisations and the impact of women serving in the national legislatures. In 2003 she was appointed on the National Women's Commission's panel of experts on Women's Political Empowerment in India. Her publications include : Electoral Process in Corporation Election : A Gender Study (1997), and Empowering Women : Assessing the Policy of Reservations in Local Bodies-A Report (1997).
13. Jayaprakash Narayan, a physician by training, joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1980 and had a distinguished career. In 1996, he resigned as Secretary to the government and formed Lok Satta to work for fundamental political changes. He is currently its Campaign Coordinator and has also served on several panels constituted by the Government of India, including the National Advisory Council (NAC) for the implementation of the National Common Minimum Programme; Vigilance Advisory Council and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
14. Gail, Omvedt is currently Visiting Professor and Coordinator, School of Social Justice, University of Pune, India. Born in the USA, she became an Indian citizen in 1983. As a scholar-activist, she has been actively involved with movements for women's empowerment such as benefits for abandoned women, women's land rights and anti-caste and environmental campaigns. Among her numerous books are : We Shall Smash this Prison: Indian Women in Struggle (1979), Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements in India (1993), Gender and Technology : Emerging Asian Visions (1994), Dalit Visions (1994), Buddhism in India : Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (2003), Ambedkar : Towards an Enlightened India (2005) and Seeking Begumpura : The Social Vision of Anti-caste Intellectuals (forthcoming). She has been a consultant on gender, environment and rural development for UNDP, NOVIB and other institutions.
15. Anne Phillips is Professor of Political and Gender Theory, and holds a joint appointment at the Gender Institute and Department of Government at the London School of Economics. She has written widely on themes in feminist political theory, ranging through equality and difference, democracy and representation to human rights and multiculturalism. Her publications include Engendering Democracy (1991), The Politics of Presence : the Political Representation of Gender, Ethnicity and Race (1995), Which Equalities Matter? (1999), Multiculturalism without Culture (2007), and a recently co-edited book, with John Dryzek and Bonnie Honig, the Oxford Handbook of Political Theory (2006).
16. Shirin Rai is Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK and is currently Director of a Leverhulme Trust-funded Programme on 'Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament'. Her other research foci are gender and representation in the Indian Parliament, global governance and gender politics of development. Her publications include Chinese Politics and Society : An Introduction (with co-author Flemming Christiansen, 1996), International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation (ed., 2000) and Gender and Political Economy of Development : From Nationalism to Globalisation (2002).
17. Vasanthi Raman is Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. She has been Senior Fellow at the Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi and was it Deputy Director from 2005-2007. Important articles include : 'Understanding Hindu-Muslim Relations : The Banaras Story' (2002), 'The Implementation of Quotas for Women : The Indian Experience' (2003), 'The Diverse Life-Worlds of Indian Childhood' (2003), 'The Surang (Tunnel) of Madanpura : Partition Motif in Banaras' (2007), The Women's Question in Contemporary Indian Polities' (republished 2007). Her forthcoming book is titled, The Warp and the Weft : Understanding Community and Gender in the Tana Bana of Banaras Weavers.
18. Lotika Sarkar is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi and earlier taught criminal law, at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. With Vina Mazumdar, she wrote the Report for the Government of India Committee on the Status of Women in India, published as Towards Equality (1974). Professor Sarkar has played a central role in important legal debates, including public interest litigation. Her recent publications include Women and Law : Contemporary Problems (edited with B. Sivaramayya, 1994), and Between Tradition, Counter tradition and Heresy: Contributions in Honour of Vina Mazumdar (with Leela Kasturi and Kumud Sharma, 2002).
19. Nandita Shah is Co-Director and Managing Trustee of Akshara, a women's resource centre in Mumbai, where she introduced the Yuvati Mela, a popular, interactive communications model for young women. Dr Shah is a professional social worker, activist of the women's movement and a gender trainer. She has co-authored a number of books and articles, including Issues at Stake : Theory and Practice in the Contemporary Women's Movement in India (with Nandita Gandhi, 1992) and 'Women Workers and Industrial Restructuring in Two Industries in Mumbai' (2005).
20. Begum Jehan ara Shah Nawaz (1896-1979) was educated at Queen Mary College, Lahore. As vice-president of the Central Committee of the AH India Muslim Women's Conference she succeeded in having a resolution passed against polygamy in 1918. She was one of two women delegates to the Round Table Conference. In 1935, she founded the Punjab Provincial Women's Muslim League. In 1946, she was sent to the USA to explain the Muslim League's point of view. Her publications include Father and Daughter: A Political Biography (1971).
21. D.L. Sheth is Honorary Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and was its director from 1984-1987. He is Editor of the journal Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, was founder director of Lokayan, a project on development, decentralisation and democracy (1980-82), a member of the National Commission for Backward Classes (1993-96), and president of Delhi Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He has contributed to the 2004 Human Development Report, is the editor of Minority Identities and the Nation State (with Gurpreet Mahajan), and of The Multiverse of Democracy (with Ashis Nandy, 1996). He has written numerous papers on caste, poverty and development.
22. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan is Global Distinguished Professor of English at New York University. She is the author of The Scandal of the State : Women, Law and Citizenship in Postcolonial India (2003); Real and Imagined Women : Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism (1993); and has edited a collection of essays, Signposts : Gender Issues in Post-Independence India (1999) and most recently, co-edited The Crisis of Secularism in India (2006).
23. Yogendra Yadav is Co-Director of Lokniti and Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, CSDS. He has designed and co-ordinated the National Election Studies from 1996 to 2004. He is one of the General Editors of Lokchintan and Lokchintak Granthamala, a series of social science anthologies in Hindi, is on the International Advisory Board of the European Journal of Political Research, and currently Executive Editor of Samayik Varta. He is a psephologist and political commentator analysing elections on several TV channels. Amongst his writings are : 'Understanding the Second Democratic Upsurge : Trends of Bahujan Participation in Electoral Politics in the 1990s' (2000), 'A Radical Agenda for Political Reforms' (2001), and 'Predicting the 1998 Indian Parliamentary Elections' (with Rajeeva L. Karandikar and Clive Payne, 2002).