A Foot in the Door

Dalit Women in Panchayati Raj in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu

Jayshree Mangubhai, Aloysius Irudayam S.J., and Emma Sydenham

A Foot in the Door

Jayshree Mangubhai, Aloysius Irudayam S.J., and Emma Sydenham

Distributed for Zubaan Books

368 pages | 5.59055 x 8.70079
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9789385932939 Will Publish November 2020 World sales rights except India
The culmination of research undertaken in the rural panchayats of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, A Foot in the Door brings the voices of Dalit women to the forefront of the ongoing conversation about their political oppression. The authors examine the patriarchal and caste-based barriers to Dalit women’s political participation in Panchayati Raj, explaining clearly that without a more holistic approach, the panchayats will only continue to reinforce existing and undeniably violent hierarchies of caste and gender. Dalit women’s political participation remains a risky endeavor and involves very little actual transfer of power. Getting ‘a foot in the door’ is not enough—the affirmative action that secures a Dalit woman’s right to enter the panchayats often still silences them in the process of seeking active participation. An essential read for feminist and Dalit scholars working on issues of gender, caste, and political participation, A Foot in the Door argues that there is a need for deep, systemic change at every level of governance—only then can equal and meaningful participation be ensured.
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