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There's an interesting piece over on The Morning News about politics and gender in India. If you've enjoyed Annie's posts from the field, you should check it out. And vice versa.

"... My visit to West Bengal comes more than 16 years after India’s parliament ordered the nation’s local governments to save a third of their seats for women. At that time, the Women’s Reservation Bill passed with hardly any discussion and no opposition, also demanding quotas for certain castes and tribes. Today, India has more women in government than any country on the planet. And yet, India’s parliament is still debating whether to pass a women’s quota for its own seats. ...

According to government reports, more than a million women have positions on the local level, known as the Panchayati Raj. Fatema Sheikh is one of them. A young mother, she’s also part of the region’s Muslim minority and lives in Kalinga, a rural village in Nadia, a district of roughly five million people, several harrowing hours’ drive north of West Bengal’s capital, Kolkata. ..."


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