New Delhi: India has made remarkable progress in taking ahead women’s political participation at the local level, an official from the UN body on gender empowerment said here Saturday.

“India has made remarkable progress in promoting women’s political empowerment at the local level – with over 1.2 million elected women representatives. UN Women looks forward to seeing this translate into the realization of national commitments on gender equality,” Gulden Türkoz-Cosslett told IANS on her visit to the country.

Türkoz-Cosslett spoke after a field visit to Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh where she interacted with women in a Gram Sabha in Akkulapeta Panchayat (village council).

Working for over a decade with the UN in New York, Europe and Asia, Türkoz-Cosslett spoke after the launch of the UN Women-National Commission for Women (NCW) report on gender equality in the national capital.

According to the UN Women-NCW report, many Indian women have been able to enter panchayats or grassroots politics in the country. The one-third to fifty percent seats for women in panchayats (village councils) has brought women to the forefront in grassroots politics.

“This is a good example of how women leaders can be empowered and play an equal role in decision-making. At the global level, we can use this example to ensure that women’s needs are looked at systemically and not in isolation and integrated into local policies and budgets,” added Türkoz-Cosslett.

UN Women is working with the Indian government to strengthen the role of elected women representatives in local governance in the five states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

UN Women in South Asia works on women’s empowerment and advocacy in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Iran, among others.

Source: IANS