Building political engagement & leadership in young girls
India's 2019 general election saw an increase in elected women representatives in the Lok Sabha, at 14%, with 78 women elected representatives (the highest number to date). This figure is significantly less for a country where half our population is women. The challenge is that few women opt for a career as policymakers or engage in political activities beyond voting.
For instance, only 8% of the total candidates that ran in the 2019 elections and 4.4% of candidates that ran in state elections between 1980 -2007 were women. This is in part because of the negative perception politics has in certain societies as well as other cultural barriers.
Although women across India vote in almost equal numbers as their male counterparts (stage I), their engagement in political processes declines beyond the process of voting, with very few women running for office and therefore, few elected representatives.
On the 26 January 2022 we published results from our survey on “Perceptions of politics among children and young adults across India”. We received over 400 responses from young people between the ages of 11-24. Among other findings, our study found that boys are more likely to have political aspirations than girls and that knowledge of and exposure to politics increases political interest. You can find our report here.
Therefore, to increase women representation at the local, state and national levels, we need girls to be politically aware and engage in democratic processes from a young age.
Four stages of political participation
A career in politics is not aspirational for most young girls across India. Our goal is to build political engagement and leadership by working with young girls to demystify political processes and policy issues.
Kuviraa, which means courageous women in multiple Indian languages, aims to work with young girls, especially from marginalised and minority communities, between the ages of 12 - 20 to change attitudes towards politics in India through the following three goals:
To inspire to engage in political processes and policy making
To build agency to participate in politics beyond voting
To connect and build a community of politically engaged women to support each other
For India to have better female representation, at the local, state and national levels, we will build a strong sisterhood of young women that are politically engaged and will support each other when they decide to run for leadership positions in the future; and learn ways in which they can hold political representatives accountable as a community.
Building a positive narrative around politics through research, strategic communications and campaigns
Partnering with schools and nonprofits to work with young girls to build political engagement through interactive workshops
Kuviraa is a volunteer driven organisation and we are always looking for help, please reach out if you would like to be involved