Democratic Institutions and Empowerment of Women – An Analytical Study

27 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2015 Last revised: 30 Aug 2021

See all articles by Vipin Singhal

Vipin Singhal

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR)

Date Written: November 17, 2015


The status of women in India has been a cause of serious concern in a constitutional set up which seeks to establish an egalitarian social order, premised on the principles of equality, respect for dignity and freedom of expression. In a hierarchical social order, the problem is further compounded when discrimination is practiced on the grounds of caste, gender, religion and ethnicity, besides pronounced biases rooted in and emanating from patriarchal psychology. They are at once victims of organic violence’s – social, political and economic. Through different constitutional mechanisms, attempts are being made, probably one may contest this submission, to ensure gender equity.

“Empowerment of Women” is a topic that has been debated and deliberated world over. Deliberations and action plans have been prepared for the last 30 years in the four world conferences on women at Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985), and Beijing (1995). These conferences have helped to strengthen the socio-economic, political and legal dimensions of the role of women. In the Mexico conference, it was decided that the decade (1975-85) be celebrated as the decade for women. During the decade, in 1979, the UN adopted CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of Discrimination against Women) which, in 1993, was adopted by India.

The involvement of women in the development process and political decision making process has always been advocated by social and political thinkers. The Report of the committee on status of women in India (CSWI: 1974), which is considered as a significant document on the socio-economic conditions of Indian women says, “though women’s participation in the political process has increased, their ability to procedure an impact on the political process has been negligible because of the inadequate attention paid to their political education and mobilization by both political parties and women organisations. Parties have tended to see women voters as appendages of the males. Among women, the leadership has become diffused and diverse having sharp contradictions with regard to inequalities that affect the status of women in every sphere – social, economic and political.”

It may also be stated that, the present study serve as a mirror for understanding the current political processes and socio-economic role of women in India. Study focuses on the participation of women in the parliament, state legislatures and as well as grass root level in India as the voters and contestants. It also examines the various emerging trends in respect of the participation of women in the electoral politics as well as in the working of legislative bodies. It would also add to the existing field of knowledge regarding women empowerment, political socialization, mobilization, gender inequality, politicization. The study would enhance the understanding of politics at all level in context of rapidly changing socio-political milieu. The present study may be useful and helpful for policy makers cum planners, administrators, leaders of local regional and national level, social servants and researchers who are engaged in this field of the study.

Keywords: Empowerment of Women, Political Participation of Women, Status of Women, Gender Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Singhal, Vipin, Democratic Institutions and Empowerment of Women – An Analytical Study (November 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Vipin Singhal (Contact Author)

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) ( email )

New Delhi

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