Parveen Kaur

Parveen Kaur

The Haryana government established minimum educational requirements for candidates ahead of the January 2016 Panchayat elections. Class 8 was required of general category women, whereas Class 5 was necessary of Scheduled Caste women. These conditions were set at Class 10 (general) and Class 8 (SC) for men, respectively. Several people objected to the state government’s decision. This decision, however, proved to be beneficial to Parveen.

History is made

Parveen’s father was able to complete his education until the 12th grade, at which point he began working as an electrician’s contractor.

Her mother works full-time as a stay-at-home mom. In 2006, her family moved to Cheeka, about 30 kilometres away, due to a shortage of road and bus transportation in the area.

For the first time, a woman was elected Sarpanch. Because there was no other educated female candidate in the village, the residents unanimously voted for me. My family and I had moved to the city to pursue our education, but we maintained a strong bond with the village, and I worked tirelessly,” she explained.

Parveen’s Backbone

“Of course, my father and others helped a lot,” she says, praising her father as well as the townspeople. I didn’t want to drop out of university, and I was able to produce some solid work thanks to everyone’s active support.” Women’s reservation in the panchayat system, according to Parveen, has helped, albeit it will take time for women to truly come into their own. Parveen is currently enrolled in a Chandigarh-based web design course and is looking for work.

In Haryana, 2565 women were elected as sarpanches in 2016. Despite a 50 percent seat reservation for women in panchayats, many elected women are relegated to the role of sham candidate. Even block-level meetings are out of reach for them. Important village decisions are frequently made by their father-in-law, husband, or brother-in-law.

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