What Is She Leads?
‘She Leads’ is a unique leadership training programme designed to support aspiring women leaders across all backgrounds, to run for office at state and national levels in India. The training aims to equip women with the practical and multidimensional skills required in the political and social sphere. Read More
By end of the training, women leaders are also expected to be better prepared to deal with the challenges that severely restrict their chances of getting into active politics and contesting elections. She Leads programme will focus on holistic capacity enhancement of select women candidates by improving the overall competence of these women on various standard processes like filing candidature, campaigning, use of electioneering machinery as well as on other aspects like combating stereotypes, identifying issues, using media for awareness and citizen education and ethical fundraising.
This 7-day course will provide women leaders with the foundation and skill sets to break new ground and become agents of change, while overcoming gender-related barriers to political entry. The course will enable women to play multiple roles—legislators, policy implementers, problem solvers, CEOs of their constituencies, as well as party activists.
Enhancing women’s political leadership is essential to building a strong democracy and global presence for India in the 21st century. Studies show that the higher level of women’s political participation and representation raise attention to women’s issues in general.
Women in high leadership positions in governments across the globe have demonstrated to have positive impacts in many areas of development resulting in lower levels of inequality and increased confidence in national governments. The World Economic Forum found that woman’s political leadership correlates to wider economic impacts and that the advancement on gender equity has positive economic outcomes for all. The key impacts of women in elected offices are higher educational attainment for women and girls, increased labor force participation and wages. Read More
They have also demonstrated to have positive outcomes in improving health and civil rights. So, equal participation and representation of women in politics and decision making bodies is not just a demand for democracy but a necessary pre-condition for bringing women’s interests in the forefront.
Some countries are leading the path towards a higher number of women in Parliament. According to the data published by Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Rwanda, Cuba and UAE are on the top of the list with more women in Parliament than men, while Sweden ranks number seventh (46.1%). India is at the 148th position among 193 countries ranked on the basis of the percentage of women members in National Parliament. Among the SAARC countries also India ranks in the lower positions, only ahead of Sri Lanka and Maldives.
In India, gender has emerged as a fundamental axis of democracy, alongside caste, class, region, religion and ethnicity. In the general elections of 2019, 67.18% of women electorate in India voted, showing an improvement from 59.4% in 2014. However, the increased female voter turnout did not automatically translate into women’s increased representation in the country’s Parliament and State Assemblies. Of the 8,049 women contestants, only 78 of them were sworn as members of the 17th Lok Sabha. This is the highest number of women MPs in India thus far.
While the low representation of women in Parliament and other decision-making bodies is compromising India’s development, the increase in women candidates in Parliament over last two decades also indicates the growing enthusiasm of women to enter the politics. There is a need for a comprehensive approach to women’s leadership that not only benefits communities but also leads to improved quality of discussion and outcomes in terms of legislations, policies and budgets. In several countries quotas have been used to increase the number of women in the Parliament. In India, Women’s Reservation Bill seeking increased representation of women in the Parliament is pending since 1996.
Some of the common myths around women not entering politics are lack of willingness and competence, but the fact remains that they don’t have sufficient access to the political spaces. Women need to be encouraged, empowered and supported in becoming strong political leaders. In this backdrop, She Leads programme has been conceptualized to help women become authentic and effective leaders and to increase their engagement and impact at higher levels of governance.
Keeping in mind the restrictions imposed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the first cohort of She Leads will be trained online. There is no programme fee for participation.
Topics that will be covered during the programme include:
The structure of the training includes panel discussions, expert talks, practical work and networking opportunities.
Duration of the training programme – 5 Days
Timings- 9 am to 1:30 pm every day, with sufficient breaks in-between
Who can Apply?
This training programme is for women leaders who are aspiring to contest election at state or national level. In addition, the eligibility requirements include:
A laptop with a good internet connection is essential for attending the programme.
The selection process entails the following steps
M.V. Rajeev Gowda
Ex MP, INC
An academician and a former Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, he is a national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress. He also currently serves as Chairman of the ‘Congress Research Department’.
Dr. Heena Gavit
A medical doctor by profession, she is one of the youngest Members of the Parliament in Lok Sabha. She has worked in tribal areas on social issues like malnutrition and anaemia amongst women.
Ex-Governor and Ex MP, INC
A senior politician and an advocate by profession, she has been Governor of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa. She has served in both the houses of Parliament, and has had several portfolios as Union Minister of State.
National Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party
He has served as the advisor to the JD (U) government in Bihar from 2010 to 2015. He was also the communication advisor to the CM and party spokesperson until 2016. He earned a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from Harvard Kennedy School.
Co-Founder of Shakti and Citizens for Bengaluru
A software director at a MNC, Tara is a Co-founder of Shakti, a pan-India, non-partisan citizens pressure group working to get more women into State Assemblies & Parliament, pressure MPs to table the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, and the Election Commission to discipline parties towards gender equitable nominations.
She has served as Deputy Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly and has been former president of women’s wing of the party, Aam Aadmi Party Mahila Shakti.
She has served as an MLA from the Burhanpur constituency of Madhya Pradesh for three consecutive terms- from 2008 to 2018. She has also been a part of the Madhya Pradesh cabinet two times, serving as Education Minister and Minister of women and child development.
She entered into politics as a student leader, and has held many positions within the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Namita Bhandare is an award-winning journalist with nearly 30 years of reporting experience for various publications including magazines Sunday and India Today, and the daily The Hindustan Times. In 2013, she was appointed India’s first gender editor for Mint newspaper and remained in that position until 2016. She is at present an independent journalist who writes a fortnightly column on gender for The Hindustan Times and also writes for Mint, IndiaSpend and Foreign Policy.
She has spent 15 years in varied aspects of television news and documentary production. She ventured into politics with the India against corruption movement. She lead a media campaign for the Jan lokpal bill, and served as a spokesperson of the IAC movement. She has been affiliated with the BJP since 2015 , and currently serves as the party’s spokesperson.
State Convener, AAP
He is the state convener of the Aam Aadmi Party in Karnataka and and a member of the national executive committee of the party. A mechanical engineer by profession, he forayed into politics after the India against corruption movement – heading the movement in Karnataka. He is also the head of the fundraising team of his party and the Co- convener of AAP overseas.
Second Cohort has been postponed to next year-2022
Please keep checking this space for more details