This chapter aims to critically understand the ‘positionality’ of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) in India and more specifically in the state of Rajasthan at multiple levels - political, social, economic and personal with the aim of analysing factors enabling and constraining women’s political pathways through the intersections of gender, caste, class and ethnicity.
It analyses the spaces and places providing opportunities for women to assume leadership and the trade-offs inherent in political apprenticeship. It documents women’s experiences in their new political role, the processes of change, problems of participation, inherent potential, support of families, communities and other social collectives.
The key question it attempts to answer is how women negotiate with patriarchal structures and hegemonic institutions of society which cast an exclusionary web to inhibit their participation. Drawing on women’s voices it attempts to underscore what needs to be done at the policy level to create a more enabling environment for EWRs moving beyond 'blueprints and technical fixes' designed without taking into consideration the differential positions of women cutting across caste, and educational backgrounds.