Political Participation and Leadership are at the core of every political system. But these are much more important in a democracy because democracy always emphasizes on involving the people in the decision making process and it thrives on political participation of people. “If democracy is interpreted as rule by the people, then the question of who participates in political decisions becomes the question of the nature of democracy in a society”. The participation and leadership of women in general is not very encouraging in India. In India, the male participation has always been more than the women participation. In this context the participation and leadership of women Sarpanches at the grass root institutions makes for an interesting study as the gross roots institutions train the women as leaders and representatives of people and prepare them to shoulder greater responsibilities and play bigger roles in the political system.
The enactment of the 73rd Amendment Act with a view to involve women in decision-making provides psychological empowerment and a sense of political efficacy to those who had been left powerless to influence public decisions that affect them. This is indeed a welcome, though delayed, gesture, for democracy will not be meaningful in a traditional society like India without the full involvement of women and other weaker segments of society. But a constitutional provision is only a necessary and enabling step which should be followed by effective measures for women’s uplift in the country. The main aim of the paper is to explore political participation and leadership of Women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in India.
Key words: Political Participation, Leadership, Women and Panchayati Raj Institutions