Monday, December 25, 2006

Govt scheme boon for Bihar women - 50% reservation

Despite the government's efforts, dowry deaths continue.

But the Bihar government's 50 per cent reservation scheme for women in Panchayat and government schools has worked better than anticipated.

Ever since Abhilasha Kumari began working as a Panchayat teacher at a district school in Champaran district, she's had reason to smile.

"Ever since I got this job, my family's respect for me has grown. And there have been marriage proposals from boys' families," said Abhilasha.

Good initiative

She's not the only one. An initiative of the Nitish Kumar government to empower women in the state by reserving 50 per cent Panchayat jobs has had an unexpected fallout.

The young teachers have suddenly become very eligible and young men are now queuing up to marry them.

"Now my parents don't have to worry," said Premlata Kumari, teacher.

The locals say it's not really hopes of a fat dowry that's bringing the marriage proposals, but the reassurance of a steady source of income.

"Usually the girl's family has to worry a lot about dowry. But now that will not be a problem," said a villager.

"Lots of important people come, they say they will marry for free," added another.

It's not just the reservation for women in the Panchayat. Women in the Panchayat have gone ahead and employed even more women and as a result far more women across the state are now not just empowered but also very sought after.

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