AUTHORITY, POWERLESSNESS AND DEPENDENCE:
WOMEN AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
Affirmative action has enabled the representation of women in panchayats and enhanced their political status in local government. While they now possess authority through being incumbents of elective positions, this has not been translated into power (i.e. the ability to actually effect outcomes). Gender and other social differences hinder the exercise of power by women representatives, and have reduced their effectiveness as political representatives. Thus, what is required is an alternative conception of power which is centred not on the position but on the individual.