The system of reserved seats with direct elections to local government bodies has been in place for women since 1997.
This article investigates how perceptions have changed about the role of women representatives in local government. By exploring the accounts of women’s views, experiences and how they negotiate various structural and attitudinal obstacles, and the changes in the wider sociopolitical context, the article shows that women representatives have gained greater voice and social legitimacy in representing specific types of ‘women’s issues.’These gains were partly a result of the supportive policy directives and mechanisms created by the state. Despite these gains, the centralised and andocentric nature of Bangladeshi government and politics may limit the transformatory potential of these changes.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.5 (2010) A Silver Lining: Women in Reserved Seats in Local Government in Bangladesh