Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR-Centre for Science and Humanities (CSH) Workshop on ‘How Women Mobilise Women into Politics: Theory and Natural Experimental Evidence from Urban India’

August 9, 2019


Watch the full video (above) of the CPR- Centre for Science and Humanities (CSH) Workshop on ‘How Women Mobilise Women into Politics: Theory and Natural Experimental Evidence from Urban India’, featuring Tanushree Goyal.

How does women’s political entry affect citizen’s political involvement? Building on qualitative interviews and extending elite mobilisation theories to account for who conducts grass-roots mobilisation, Goyal argued that female politicians increase women’s numbers in party activist roles, and prospects of cheaply mobilising women provide a strategic incentive to do so. As a result, more women receive mobilising effort, such as door-to-door party contact, where women contest. Women’s entry in activist roles has downstream effects on the quality of mobilisation. When women enter into activist roles, where they were previously absent, they induce competition for these roles and in doing so raise the quality of activist pool. This affects the political involvement, that is, political knowledge and participation, of all citizens. Goyal provided evidence for this argument using original survey data from a natural experiment in Delhi’s Municipal Council, where randomly chosen electoral seats are reserved for women. By outlining how representation affects the calculus of mobilisation, this paper connects the literature on women’s political entry with mobilisation and political involvement.

This paper is part of an ongoing dissertation book project, provisionally titled, ‘The politics of representation: How female politicians make politics inclusive in India’, that examines the consequences of women’s entry through quotas in Delhi’s civic body. Drawing on a natural experiment, extensive fieldwork, interviews, and original survey, combined with insights from a new electoral polling-station level panel dataset, this book proposes to offer new theoretical insights and an empirical account of women’s agency in shaping urban politics and governance in India.

Tanushree Goyal is a third year PhD candidate at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK. She specialises in the political economy of development and comparative politics with a geographic focus on South Asia.

The presentation made by the speaker at the workshop can be accessed here. Find all the available videos of previous workshops, here.