`Constitutional amendments have drawn women in Manipur out of homes to be politically empowered`

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THOUBAL, feb 20: A one day district level consultation on powers and functions of elected women representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions of Thoubal CD Block was organised by the Integrated Rural Development Organisation (IRDSO), Wangjing, at the DC complex,Thoubal.

In her keynote address, secretaryof IRDSO, Nonibala Narengbam said,“India is one of the few countries in the world with a constitution that makes it mandatory for one-third of the seats in all institutions of local self-governance to be reserved for women.

The 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution which made this landmark provision has given a new dimension to the process of women empowerment with constitutional powers and responsibilities with a range of issues, she said adding, today more than expected women are in the power.

Though these provisions have increased the visibility of women in the local governance bodies,the reality shows a different picture.Several women elected are more instruments in the hands of their male family members.Deep rooted patriachel values and male domination has suppressed women voices and perspective.But, in general elected women are accelerating in occupying a space in panchayats.Women have shown a remarkable journey and the crux at present is the mindset change for a structural change on control over womens` voice and decision making process.However,it is still pitiful that numbers of women representatives are still not aware about their powers and authority entitled to them“.

She added the roles and responsibilities of women in Manipur are very evident. Women had and still have been participating in the overall socio political issues and raised their voices and bargaining for their voices to be heard in decision making.

Women representatives in the local governance have become more confident, assertive, powerful, dynamic, capable etc. Even women who were never exposed before have been inspired to become activists despite constraints like illiteracy, lack of experience, household responsibilities, restrictive social norms, victims of different forms of violence under the patriarchal structure, she added.

Today`™s function was graced by Kh.Surnalata Devi, Sdakshya, Thoubal Zilla Parishad as the chief guest, while T. Ranjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Thoubal distict and Ch.Renubala Devi, retd. district leprosy officer, Thoubal as president and guest of honour respectively.

In the morning session of the programme,Rakesh Meihoubam, executive director, human rights law networks spoke as resource person and in the evening an idea sharing session amongst elected women representatives of Thoubal CD block was held.

Altogether 60 women PRIs members participated in the said programme.

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