Women’s Representation in the Union Parishad

While there is an understanding of the barriers women face and the limitations of how they are able to exercise leadership, less is known about how, when and in which areas they do exercise agency and can influence structures, processes and people to bring about change or make decisions in their favour. This study, under the Sharique Local Governance Program, mandated by SDC, and implemented by a Consortium of Helvetas Swiss Interco-operation and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University aimed to address this gap. The fieldwork was conducted in 2015 in 6 Unions in 2 Upazilas of Rajshahi. We found that most of the female members had not been directly involved in politics before elections and most of them did not have a clear idea about what it would mean to be a public representative. The political affiliation of their family, kinship ties in the community, requests by a family member or community members and their own community-level engagement and reputation encouraged them to contest the elections. “Serving society” was the key motivation female members mentioned to compete in the UP level elections and “expectations of monetary benefit” was another consideration according to the community. In conclusion, it was seen that female members are strategic actors who decide to contest general or reserved seats based on an assessment of the context and the factors in their favour or disfavour.

Authors: Sultan, Maheen; Hasan, Bayazid; Khondaker, Sahida Islam; Enam, Ahmed Asif; Mahmood, Towhid Iqram; Nazneen, Sohela
Type: Report
Year: 2016