Attitudes towards women’s participation in local politics in South Asia
Survey data from selected geographical areas in India, Nepal and Bhutan show that attitudes towards women’s participation in local politics are overwhelmingly positive. The findings indicate a shift from the deeply embedded notion that politics is men’s domain, towards greater acceptance of gender equality. We find that attitudes cluster along three major dimensions: perceptions of women’s capacities to join politics, the consequences of political engagement for the family’s reputation, and consequences of women’s political participation for their domestic responsibilities. Country differences are significant, with Nepalese respondents being the most positive, and Indian respondents the most negative. We explore individual, community, social and institutional variables that influence respondents’ attitudes. Data are drawn from a survey of 6647 local level politicians, civil society leaders and ordinary citizens, and from interviews.