Politics as a Male Domain and Empowerment in India

Lori Beaman, Rohini Pande and Alexandra Cirone

in The Impact of Gender Quotas

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199830091
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932924 | DOI:
Politics as a Male Domain and Empowerment in India

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This chapter employs surveys and field experiments to determine how reserved seats for women at the local level in India have altered citizens’ views regarding women as leaders. Focusing on developments in the state of West Bengal, Lori Beaman, Alexandra Cirone, and Rohini Pande ask whether the increased presence of female village council leaders achieves the quota’s goals of both ensuring female participation and reducing voter bias against women as policymakers. The data reveals that exposure to female leaders has caused constituents to update their implicit beliefs about women’s ability to lead: villagers become more willing to vote for women. When women pursue different and more effective policies than men with tangible results, this may provoke a greater shift in the perception of politics as a male domain. However, exposure neither shifts stated attitudes toward women more generally nor leads to female empowerment in the domestic realm specifically.

Keywords: gender quotas; reserved seats; public attitudes; women leaders; voter bias; India

Chapter.  7172 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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