With women performing exceptionally well in grass-roots politics following the implementation of a 33 per cent reservation policy, there is now an all-round demand to hike the quota to strengthen Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The number of elected women representatives in PRIs exceeds their mandated quota of 33 per cent and the time has now come to increase the reservation for women through further Constitutional amendments, said experts at a just-concluded three-day workshop of "Writers and Thinkers on Local government and Panchayati Raj".
Women have excelled in the role provided for them beyond the mandated reservation of 33 per cent and have even exceeded in number more than 50 per cent of the majority in PRIs and the present reservation for them is inadequate, they said.
The process of involving women through reservation in the devolution of power and decentralisation of justice at the level of the Panchayats would mean their real empowerment, the experts felt.
It is apparent that the reservation for women has created a space for their needs within the structural framework of politics and has legitimized women's issues.
"The days of men representing the Panchayats have started to disappear and women's participation has increased in view of their awareness of the political process", an expert said.
Maintaining that women's participation in grassroots democracy and self-governance is a positive sign, they said laws of reservation for them should be enacted with a political will.