Accepted Paper:

Negotiating women's socio-political space in local governance in Kerala, India  


Yuri Kitamura (Chikushi Jogakuen University)

Paper short abstract:

The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment brought over a million women representatives to the local self-governments in India. This paper attempts to delineate their challenges and changes they bring into panchayat governance in Kerala, the land of ‘gender paradox’.

Paper long abstract:

Kerala, which once gained international prominence in the 1970s and 1980s as a unique model of development (Kerala model) has been challenged by the contradictions of women's low participation in politics and public sphere in spite of their high level of social development. 

The paper attempts to examine the emerging agency of the women panchayat members elected on the basis of 50% quota in the highly party-oriented local governance of Kerala. In addition to this, the paper tries to examine Kudumbashree, the state mission of gender-responsive and poverty-eradicating projects, to show how women are constructing 'social capital' through forming micro-enterprises among themselves. This econo-political shifts in the local governance provides women with more work opportunities and capabilities in the public sphere, which will eventually lead to deconstruct and reconstruct the socio-politically gender-divided space-time of Kerala.

Panel P045
Gender inequality: victimization of women in global context in tradition and modernity