Santosh Nandal


This essay reflects on strategies for women’s empowerment in light of the enactment of the 73rd constitutional amendment, Panchayati Raj, in the Indian Constitution, in 1992. It begins with the assumption that women’s empowerment implies progressive elimination of gender disparities at the grassroots level. As such, a perspective on women’s empowerment differs from ideas about women’s development in some important ways. Women’s development is primarily a socio-economic concept while women’s empowerment is essentially a political project. It is argued here that women’s empowerment is indeed a precursor to women’s development. The author offers suggestions for increasing women’s effectiveness in local government and closes with an evaluation of the last ten years of the manifestation of the constitutional amendment through a case study example.