Empowering women through electoral process

Empowering women through electoral process

Following the awareness programme created as a part of the Strengthening Women’s Empowerment through Electoral Process (SWEEP) in three taluks of Dakshina Kannada district and one taluk in Udupi district, a total of 175 women out of 321 women contested in the recent Gram Panchayat polls, have won the recently concluded gram panchayat election.

Mangaluru-based Jana Shikshana Trust in association with The Hunger Project, Women and Child Welfare Department and self-help groups had taken up a campaign to increase women representation in the panchayats. 

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Jana Shikshana Trust Director Sheena Shetty said that in Udupi taluk, 61 women had contested in 19 gram panchayats and 31 have won the election.

On the other hand, in Dakshina Kannada district, 260 women in 65 gram panchayats have contested the election and 144 have won. This includes 46 in 19 gram panchayats of Puttur, 63 in 24 gram panchayats of Bantwal and 33 in 22 gram panchayats of Mangaluru. Only, 23 women have contested for the second term. The remaining are all fresh candidates, he said.

“As a part of the awareness drive called, ‘Maneyangaladalli mahiti, mahila jagruthi karyakrama,’ a programme for women, of women and by women were organised in 75 gram panchayats where Sugrama Elected Gram Panchayat Women Members Federations are active in Mangaluru, Puttur, Bantwal and Udupi and 35 Grama Vikasa Kendras in Dakshina Kannada.

Motivational songs and slogans emphasised the significance of gram sabha, reservation for women in gram panchayats and cautioned about female foeticide and assault on women at the drive,” he said.

Jana Shikshana Trust Directors Sheena Shetty and Krishna Moolya have observed that the orientation programmes had helped women to get a better understanding of election procedures.

Training programmes were supplemented by individual house visits, distribution of banners and handbills, street plays and awareness songs. Women were given training on contesting election and were encouraged to contest for non reserved seats as well, Shetty added.

The winning candidates under Sugrama— a Elected Gram Panchayat Women Members Federation will be imparted leadership training.

A programme on   face to face with government officials will be organised to create awareness on the available schemes in various government departments to take up development work in their respective gram panchayats.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Ranjini Hegde from Belle gram panchayat in Udupi taluk said this is her second term as gram panchayat member.

“I had contested in general category and won the election. I was confident of winning the election as I had done work during my previous tenure.”

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