Research in Government of India-UN Women Programme, ‘Promong Women’s Polical Leadership andGovernance in India and South Asia’
In 2009, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, India signed an agreement with Unifem, now UN Women, South Asia Regional Oce toiniate a three-year programme entled ‘Promong Women’s Polical Leadership and Governance in India and South Asia’. Theprogramme aims to empower elected women representaves in local governance to make public policy and resource allocaon pat-terns responsive to women’s human rights. The programme covers 5 countries of South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, andPakistan). In India, the programme is co-owned by the Ministry of Panchaya Raj, Government of India.The Programme has been designed with the spirit to capture the specic issues and challenges with regard to women’s policalempowerment that each country experiences. This is a demand driven programme that seeks to understand and address issues of women’s parcipaon in local governance from the grassroots perspecve. Generaon of a body of knowledge on women’s policalleadership and governance in India and South Asia is one of the key outcomes of the programme.There are two main purposes of the research component of the programme –(a) To build a body of knowledge on women’s polical leadership and governance in India and South Asia – this is especially signi-cant since no on-going programme on women’s polical empowerment in the South Asia region is working at the grassrootslevel – down at the level of the village councils. This being the value addion of the programme in the region, and there beingvery lile exisng policy literature which analyses governance at its fundamental grassroots instuon; this programme pro-vides an opportunity to develop innovave and unique literature based on experiences from the programme on strengtheningvillage councils – the structure of local governance closest to ordinary cizens – to enable women as equal and fair parcipantsand decision makers at the local level.(b) As we build this body of knowledge, the data gathered from eld experiences will in turn help to inform programme implementa-on and ne tune the intervenon strategies as the programme progresses. Such a large and complex programme is, by nature,dynamic, and hence useful feedback in terms of baseline data, focused studies such as barriers and promoters of women’s poli-cal leadership and governance in India and South Asia throughout the course of the programme will be useful for the programmeintervenons.
UN Women is the United Naons organizaon dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global championfor women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeng their rights worldwide.UN Women supports United Naons Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works withgovernments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. Its standsbehind women’s equal parcipaon in all aspects of life, focusing on ve priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and parcipa-on; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economicempowerment; and making gender equality central to naonal development planning and budgeng. UN Women also coordinatesand promotes the United Naons system’s work in advancing gender equality.
The views expressed in this publicaon are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, theUnited Naons or any of its aliated organizaons.
Internaonal Centre for Research on Women
The Internaonal Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) is a global research instute with headquarters in Washington D.C., andregional oces in Nairobi, Kenya, and New Delhi, India. We also have project oce in Mumbai. ICRW is comprised of social sciensts,economists, public health specialists and demographers, all of whom are experts in gender relaons. We are thought leaders drivenby passion to alleviate poverty and recfy injusce in the world. And we believe that women and girls – in collaboraon with menand boys – are essenal to the soluons. We know that when their quality of life improves, families are healthier and economies arestronger. ICRW’s mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and ght poverty in the developing world. To accomplishthis, ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, praccal ways tochange policies and programs.