Gender and Nominations: Women Pursuing Party Nominations in India
Through interviews with party officials and nominees in the 2020 Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, this project will provide needed understanding of the opaque process that stands between the institution of gender quotas and expected improvements in female representation. Our understanding of the party nomination process, and the effect it has on female representation in the developing world is extremely limited. I will focus on three questions: first, how do party officials choose female candidates to fill gender reserved seats compared to men? Second, is the party considering the nomination of women outside of the gender-reserved seats and how do they select these candidates? Third, what persuades women nominees to pursue office? I expect to find a party nomination process that is predictably influenced by patriarchal norms; however, this project will add nuance by investigating the perceived electability of women candidates, the incorporation of women into key positions of power within the party, and possible shortages of qualified women candidates due to societal restrictions on the broad public participation of women. These findings will improve our understanding of the tension between gender quotas and persistent social norms, and thus strengthen our expectations on the ability of quotas to overcome those norms.
Women Who Only Serve Chai: Gender Reservations and Autonomy in India
This book investigates the experiences of women city councilors (parshads) in Jaipur, in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, with a focus on the incidence of proxy representatives brought in through the gender quota. These women are pushed into office by family members who then relegate her to a token role while they run the office in her stead. The gender quota instituted at the local level in India over two decades ago has helped millions of women overcome significant political and social barriers in compete for and win elected office. However, even in office women continue to face stigma and normative restrictions imposed by a society not entirely willing to accept them in such a public and autonomous position. This standard enables men, technically blocked by the gender quota from holding office themselves, to continue to exert control and influence over women office-holders, even sidelining them in many cases. The narratives of these women demonstrate the persistent power of patriarchal norms, and the inability of corrective democratic institutions to completely exclude their influence. However, the existence of proxies is contrasted by the stories of autonomous women, many of whom also entered through the gender reservation, who have established themselves politically and engage in their official responsibilities on an equal, if not better, footing than their male peers. Overall, their stories also force reconsideration of the ability of gender quotas to comprehensively establish representative equality in highly patriarchal societies in the short term. These findings are based on semi-structured elite interviews funded by a Fulbright Student grant conducted from 2016-2017 with 41 elected members of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation, the primary governing institution of Jaipur city, and eight additional semi-structured interviews with journalists, women’s rights activists, and student political leaders in Jaipur.
CAORC-AIIS Faculty Development Seminar India, CAORC, 2019 Alumni Thematic International Seminar on Human Trafficking, US Department of State, 2017 Joseph P. Harris Fellowship, University of Kansas, 2017-2018 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, US-India Education Fund, 2016-2017 Critical Language Scholarship (Hindi), US Department of State, Summer 2015 Walter Thompson Scholarship, University of Kansas, 2015, 2016 CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS Panel Discussant/Chair, Comparative Politics: Intersectionality and Democracy, 2018 Annual Conference on South Asia.
“Quota Ceilings: Analysis of Gender Restrictions at the Local Level in India.” Presented at the 2018 Annual Conference on South Asia.
“Reservations for All: Analysis of Normative Quotas at the Local Level in India.” Presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association
Panel Discussant, A Night of Conversation: Major Issues and Career Opportunities, 2018, Social & Behavioral Sciences & Human Services Department, St. Petersburg College, Link to Video
“Interviews with Women in India: A Research Note.” Presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association
“Temporary Marriages and Human Trafficking in the Developing World.” Presented at the 2017 U.S. Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar: “Illicit Networks: Preventing and Combatting Trafficking”, US Department of State “Using Ethnicity to Target the Personal Vote: Assessing the Impact of Electoral Systems on Personal Appeals of Legislators.” Presented with Sarah Goudge and Ryan Daugherty at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association
Panel Chair, Comparative Politics: Political Responses to Gender Violence, 2015 Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association.
“Societal Trust and Identity-Based Politics in India.” Presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association.