Political Participation and Empowerment of Women in Kerala

  • Bobichan George
  • Jasmine Mathew
Keywords: Women’s political participation, women’s empowerment, rapid review, male dominance, Kudumbashree, Kerala


The laudatory literature on Kerala Model Development brought international attention to
Kerala Women. The government’s flagship programme Kudumbashree and 50% seat
reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) envisaged a complete
empowerment of Kerala Women. However, critics pointed out the apparent paradox of
women’s empowerment by highlighting male dominance in all walks of life. Moreover, the
abysmal female representation in the higher orders of parliamentary institutions and political
parties demands an investigation of women’s political participation and empowerment. This
rapid review (RR) adopted a modified SALSA framework and incorporated expert
suggestions for literature selection. A predesigned protocol guided this RR. The databases
searched were SCOPUS, Web of Science and Google Scholar, and the keywords used were
women’s political participation and women’s empowerment. The article search was further
customised by setting the locality to Kerala and the date to 2013–2023. The screening process
selected nine articles for review. Reviewers created a template in Microsoft Excel for data
charting. Thematic analysis of charted data answered the review questions. Based on the
RR result, this paper suggests that women should follow egalitarian gender ideologies to
ensure their vertical mobility through the power hierarchy of Kerala’s social fabric.