Journal of Social and Political
ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)
ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)
Published: 13 January 2021
Women’s Empowerment in Manipur
Manipur University, India
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Keywords: Status, Empowerment, Economic Participation, Meira Paibi, Decision Making Power, Collective Strength, Patriarchy
Manipur is a state situated in North-Eastern corner of India. Two-thirds of the population comprise the Meiteis, majority ethnic community in Manipur. Meitei women are renowned for their unique role and status in history. Women in Manipur are particularly noted for their active economic participation and are renowned for their collective empowerment and strong force as depicted in the two Nupilans (women’s wars, or uprisings) against the British when the state was under colonial rule. They are also renowned for their activism against liquor consumption as Nisha Bandhis which later evolved into their powerful role as Meira Paibis(Women torch bearers), a collective of women that are actively involved in civil society movements for justice and human rights. The study seeks to find out whether this legacy of women’s collective strength has translated into greater decision-making power at home and in political representation. The paper uses secondary data to depict the myriad roles that women play in Manipur society, contradictory at times, visible on one hand in high economic participation, powerful as a collective in their role as Meira Paibis, and yet individually still constrained by patriarchy and not prominent when it comes to real decision-making power. It argues that a movement towards tangible actual empowerment is a must.
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