Woman Sarpanch Brings Change to Rural India

Sukhvantibai leads the way in Chhattisgarh

About the video: The Indian Government has introduced 33 percent reservation for women in village councils (panchayats). 80,000 have been elected as the assigned chairperson of their local panchayat. But these women representatives are mostly relegated to a puppet status. Decision making stills rests in the hands of men. As a result the female voices continues to stay silent in local politics. Our Community Correspondent Bhan Sahu from Chattisgarh has observed in various village councils that women depend on their husband's opinions, instead of taking charge themselves. She feels that they are missing out on a great opportunity to empower themselves and bring about change.

Bhan Sahu's search was for a women in a panchayat who was pro-active and relied on her own convictions. When Bhan Sahu met Sukhantibai, the head of the village council of Handitola village, she was deeply inspired by her independence, courage and dedication to the village.

Sukhantibai, a Gond tribal woman represents 300 villagers. She is a well-respected community member. Some people might not agree with her straight forward demeanor but everyone knows and respects her ability to reach her goals against all odds.

Our Community Correspondent: Bhan Sahu, our Community Correspondent from Chattisgarh hopes other women members of other panchayats feel inspired by Sukhantibais' work. Bhan Sahu explains: "Since I know Sukhantibai, she has been very active in the community. When she sees problems, she really wants to get them solved. She will find a way to do it. It is that self-confidence that women need, so that they can act on their own terms without being influenced by their husbands or other people. I have seen women in other panchayats act along their husbands ideas. I hope in future women will see that their voice is important to the community. They have to realise that this is their chance for initiating change through the panchayat. I have certainly been deeply touched and inspired by Shukantibai's courage and self-reliance."

Article by Julia Lechner


Related Links:

Impact of Bottom up Planning under PRI and Women participation therein in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Maharashtra:

Panchayat Women no longer need sarpanch patis (InfoChangeIndia)

Culture of Chhattisgarh (indfy):

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