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Transforming of Political Culture-Mahila Samakhya Experience

Transforming of Political Culture Mahila Samakhya Experience Srilatha Batliwala SUSTAINABLE and long-tenji change in the subordination of women is essentially a political process and can be successfully completed only when women storm the formal institutions of political power that have thus far been controlled by men, particularly those of the dominant social groups. However, merely becoming representatives in corrupted and unaccountable political bodies is not the solution the very nature of politics, and the very way political power is exercised has to be transformed. Obviously, there is no reason why only women should be concerned with this it is a social project in which both men and women have a stake. However, women have a special opportunity to take the lead in this process because there is a strong and widespread women's movement in India. What is more, the movement itself is built on re-examining and challenging existing power relations, and is engaged in the quest for an alternative and ethical framework for the practice of power. Experience shows that in general, whenever and wherever women have entered politics and political institutions, one of two things have happened: they are either co- opted and corrupted by the dominant political culture, which also often means distancing themselves from the needs and issues of the mass of women; or, if they were unwilling to play by the rules of the game, they are rendered ineffective and marginalised Either way, neither has the cause of women advanced, nor has the nature of politics itself been challenged or altered in any substantial way. There are three main reasons for this, in my view.

Women and Cooking Energy

Srilatha Batliwala This paper discusses the impact of the cooking energy system on woman. A woman in poverty has low access to cooking fuel, spends the longest time obtaining it, and puts it to use in stoves which are not only fuel-inefficient, but which also subject her to serious or fatal disease. Cooking energy also increasingly determines a woman's nutrition level, and that of her family.
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