Thesis on Women in Local Government in Bangladesh and West Bengal-A Comparative Perspective

All over the world women leadership does not grow automatically, rather it grows with the positive impetus and dynamic process of socio-cultural development of the country. With a traditional socio-economic structure, Bangladesh and West Bengal do not have regular process of political participation of women, which is directly or indirectly linked to patriarchal values and kinship ties. Despite that in the recent days, numbers of women leaders at the grass root level local government have increased remarkably due to some change in the socio-cultural contexts and dimensions. Therefore, it would be very interesting to examine and unearth the dynamics and process of socio-cultural context that have contributed to the development of women leadership in both cases.
Women's entry into local government in Bangladesh and West Bengal has generated great enthusiasms in the community and academicians but their exact/actual role in local government is yet to take a shape -due to some problems and there is still enough room for improving the situation. As both Bangladesh and West Bengal possess some almost similar socio-cultural characteristics; therefore the case of West Bengal has been chosen with a view to making a comparison between Bangladesh and West Bengal. It is deemed that sharing of knowledge and experiences gathered cases can be a significant contribution in the field of women's participation in local government, that in turn, can help bring some policy directives for developing women's participation in local government in Bangladesh as well as West Bengal.

The scope of the study was limited to some particular issues. To examine the dynamics, extent and process for growing women leadership in general than that of rural, an attempt was made to assess the social, To identify the contextual aspects of women leadership some specific queries were made. These included how socio-economic and cultural contexts and value system influenced women leadership, how political participation and mobilization helped change the context and how political parties considered women's participation in their election manifestos/agenda. The socio-cultural backgrounds of women leadership were collected covering the demographic, economic, social, family profile, family network, political affiliation and perception about women leadership of the women representatives of both the cases. Problems encountered by the women leaders of Union Parishad and Gram Panchayats were identified. Lastly, possible remedies and solutions for addressing those problems were chalked out. The time frame for analyzing the contextual aspects of women leadership was preferably confined to the seventies to the nineties because during the stipulated period some significant breakthrough in the firmament of socio-political milieu as well as major landmark incidents relating to the development of women leadership at the grassroots took place in both Bangladesh and West Bengal.
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