On July 29th, 2019, Brookings India hosted Sonia Bhalotra for a Development Seminar on Women’s Political Participation and Development. She presented two co-authored papers, “Women Legislators and Economic Performance” (2018) and “Maternal Mortality and Women’s Political Participation” (2018). The two discussants for the event were Atishi, leader of Aam Aadmi Party and a noted figure in the education sector, and Mudit Kapoor, Associate Professor of Economics at Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre.
The first paper discussed how there are no costs, in terms of loss of economic efficiency attached to greater female political representation in a competitive electoral system. The second paper highlighted allocated efficiency associated with women representatives in countries that have gender-based quotas in their legislatures, and the reduction of incidence of Maternal Mortality.
The presentation of these papers was followed by Atishi’s insights as a political leader. She pointed out that a female politician cannot rely on intrinsic motivation alone. A more holistic view will entail an understanding of the underlying power structures in political parties. She also noted how strategic motivation (re-election) is an essential part of a democratic system. In her experience, she found that the underlying reason for rent-seeking while in office was the need for cash for re-election.
Click here to read the full article published by Brookings on 4 September 2019.