Queens of the Grassroots


CIS, Central and East Asia, Why Women Count

harjeetnpushHarjeet Kaur, Jaswinder Kaur and Mahender Pal Kaur have each been elected to serve for five year as ‘sarpanch’ or head of their village councils in the Indian state of Punjab. In 1992 an amendment to India’s constitution mandated that a third of all seats in the local village councils, or ‘Panchayats’, should be reserved for women. But has the new legislation really helped empower women at the grassroots, or are they merely serving as proxies for their husband’s wishes? Poojita Chowdhury’s investigation finds that while sexism and prejudice are still alive and well in Punjabi villages, many women are taking up the challenge to serve and make a difference.

Producer/Director: Poojita Chowdhury
Related links: Ministry of Panchayati Raj

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Queens of the Grassroots
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