UN Women and Ministry of Panchayati Raj to strengthen gender responsive governance


Delhi, India — The Union Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Government of India, led by the Prime Minister has approved an agreement between UN Women and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj to strengthen the capacities of governance institutions to ensure that gender concerns are embedded in the design and implementation of legislation, policies and programmes.

Panchayats are local self-government systems at the level of villages or small towns in India. India was one of the first countries in Asia to adopt special measures such as reserving one-third of all seats at the local level for women – and to have done so prior to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution resulted in the creation of more than 200,000 elected Panchayats in the country, with nearly three million elected representatives. Just under half of these representatives are women – the largest absolute number of women in grassroots politics globally.

The Ministry and UN Women have previously collaborated to promote participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), to focus on building capacities of elected women representatives to empower them and enhance their effectiveness. Given the past gains, the two parties will now work together towards participatory design of governance processes and effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes to promote gender responsive governance.

Read the full story on UN Women's regional website for Asia and the Pacific.