Gender equality is fundamentally related to sustainable development, and globally accepted as a necessity for the promotion of human rights. Gender empowerment is determined by active participation of women and men in social, economic, and political spaces and activities taken in decision-making. In the context of local government, gender equality is critical as women and men face different challenges in full participation, representation and decent work opportunities. Though the constitution provides women the right to be elected in political and public representative institutions, such as parliament and local government bodies, gender inequality, as a collection of interlinked problems existed in the political arena too. Today the representation of women in politics has been increased considerably but due to their low participation, their issues and problems are generally unseen and unnoticed. Participation of women in the decision-making levels not only enhances their social, political and economic status, but also strengthens democratic institutions and even perhaps change the nature of the democratic process. Thus, the present study analyzed the gender challenges, gender influence in leadership styles, gender role and responsibilities of the elected panchayat leaders in Sivagangai district. The sample size of the study is 50 and the Harvard Analytical Framework has been used as a tool for data collection. Findings of the study assisted in the framing of strategies for the effective role performance of women in rural local governance and for the promotion of Gender Responsive Governance.

Author Biography

Ms. P. Sindhuja is a Ph.D scholar at Dept. of. Women’s Studies, Alagappa University, India. Her research applies the Harvard Analytical Framework to find out the gender role differences among the elected panchayat leaders. She holds a Master of Women’s Studies and won the “Best ShanthiSainik” award by the Gandhi Gram Rural Institute, Deemed University, Dindigul for the year 2001. She is also an editor for a bulletin and e-newsletter published by the Dept. of. Women’s Studies, Alagappa University.

Dr. K.R. Murugan is Professor and Head in the Dept. of. Social Work, Alagappa University, India. He is having 26 years of research experience and 21 years of experience in Teaching, Training and Extension Programme. He has more than 80 publication of books, articles and research reports. He is one of the editors for Journal of International Women’s Studies. He has received Distinguished Scientist Award (in the category of Women Empowerment) by Venus International Foundation-2015 and “Outstanding Educator and Scholar Award”- by National Foundation for Entrepreneurship Development (NFED) in the 7th Teacher’s day awards 2016.