Savitaben Jagdeeshbhai Rathod, 40, faced resistance from the upper castes of her village, Katodia, in Sihor taluka, when she wanted to contest the post of the Sarpanch reserved for Scheduled Castes in 2000. Not only did she win it; she won it twice. Thanks to her efforts, Katodia has water, electricity, a network of aanganwadis, a working mid-day meal and ration distribution systems.
“Drop-outs, especially among girls, have come down drastically”, says Savita, herself a graduate. As head of the Mahila Swaraj Manch, Savita along with her team tours villages in Sihor and trains the elected representatives. “Women understand problems at a micro level. If she can manage her house well, she can manage a village. Even the country.”