Creating Spaces for Change: Women's Empowerment and the Case of Panchayati Raj in India
This research paper examines the theory of women’s empowerment, and explores the challenges faced by practitioners and policy makers in implementing this theory. Using the case study of women in panchayati raj (Indian village councils), the author analysis the concept of empowerment through the lens of boundaries and spaces. The author explores the types of struggles women face when taking up new opportunities, some of the impact of political quotas in India, and presents an alternative interpretation of empowerment.
The paper begins by looking at the concept of empowerment from the framework of boundaries and spaces. It then moves on to apply the framework to the case study of women in panchayati raj, and the factors that facilitated or hindered women’s ability to lay hold of the opportunities presented.
The author concludes that empowerment is achieved by degrees and that to claim that complete empowerment per se can be achieved is misleading.