Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 13 January 2021

Women’s Empowerment in Manipur

Arambam Sophia

Manipur University, India

pdf download

Download Full-Text Pdf


Pages: 25-39

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.


  1. Arambam, Sophia (2013). “Women and Development in Manipur ̶ A Case Study of Meitei Women of Manipur”, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Manipur University Canchipur.

  2. ________(2016). “Social and Political Status of Women in Manipur” in Prof L Tombi Singh, Dr Kh Gourashwam Singh and N. Lokeshor Singh (ed.) Issues in Gender Discrimination A Socio-Economic and Political Perspective. New Delhi: Sunmarg Publishers and Distributors, pp 65-78.

  3. ________ (2020). “Women and Work in Manipur” International Journal of Advanced Research (Vol.8, No. 11), pp. 429-443

  4. Arunkumar, M.C. and I. Arun (2009). “Transcendental Role of Women in Manipur History” in H. Dwijasekhar Sharma and N. Sanajaoba (2009) (ed.) New Insights into the Glorious Heritage of Manipur, Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi

  5. Asem, Seromena. (2016). “Decision Making and Gender Exclusion: A scenario of Women in Khwairamband keithel”. in Prof L Tombi ingh, Dr Kh Gourashwam Singh and N. Lokeshor Singh (ed.) Issues in Gender Discrimination A Socio-Economic and Political Perspective. New Delhi: Sunmarg Publishers and Distributors, pp.31- 53.

  6. Brara, N. Vijayalakhsmi, (2001). “Panchayai Raj, The Manipur Experience”. PUCL Bulletin, October 2001. Retrieved 2 December 2018, Available at

  7. ____ (2017). “Culture and Indigeneity: Women in Northeast India”. Explorations, ISS e-journal, Vol. 1 (1), April 2017, pp. 72-90

  8. CSO (Central Statistical Organisation)(2000). Report of the Time Use Survey. New Delhi: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.

  9. Central Statistics Office (2019). “Women and Men in India (A Statistical Compilation of Gender Related Indicators in India) 2018.” New Delhi: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

  10. Chaki-Sircar, Manjusri (1984). Feminism in Traditional Society- Women of the Manipur Valley. New Delhi: Shakti Books, Vikas Publishing House.

  11. Colman, Zoe (2014). “What Kind of Women Matter? A Study of Women’s Representation in the United States Senate”. Political Science Senior Thesis April 28, 2014. Retrieved 10 May2020, from

  12. Dodda, Tejeswi Pratima (2018). “Representation to Participation: Women in Panchayat Raj Institutions and State Assemblies”. Retrieved 13 December 2018, from,

  13. Chakrabarty, M. (2012). “Women Empowerment in Assam: A Study”. The Indian Journal of Political Science, 73(1), 97-100. Retrieved December 27, 2020, from

  14. ESCAP (2019). Women’s Political Participation and Leadership Social Development Policy Briefs No. 2019/03

  15. Gangmei, Benjamin (2016). “Political Empowerment and Tribal Women of Manipur” in Prof L Tombi Singh, Dr Kh Gourashwam Singh and N. Lokeshor Singh (ed.) Issues in Gender Discrimination A Socio-Economic and Political Perspective. New Delhi: Sunmarg Publishers and Distributors, pp. 96-128.

  16. IHD (Institute for Human Development) (2006). Manipur State Development Report. New Delhi: Planning Commission, Government of India. Retrieved 20 July 2009, Available at Default_ DraftMSDR.htm.

  17. Irengbam, Arun (2000). “Between the Lines: Stereotypes and Prejudices” Opinion-1, Article published in Manipur Update-January Issue (Volume I Issue II, January 2000)

  18. Kulabidhu, Singh, O. (2009). “Participation of Manipuri Women in Elections A Critical Analysis” The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 70, No. 3 (JULY - SEPT. 2009), Published by: Indian Political Science Association. Retrieved 15 January 2019, available at pp. 897-906

  19. Lewenhak, Sheila (1992). Revaluation of Women’s Work. Earthscan Publications Limited. London. 1988 and 1992. 1992 edition

  20. Mayanglambam Sarda (2010). Valuation of Women’s Work: A Study of Manipuri Tribals. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Manipur University.

  21. Mayanglambam, Sarda (2016). Valuation of Women’s work in Manipur. Akansha Publishing House: New Delhi.

  22. Moser, Caroline O.N. (1993). Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice, and Training. London: Routledge

  23. National Democratic Institute (2019). “Gender, Women and Democracy”. Retrieved 11 December 2019 available at

  24. Oinam, Ishani and Rajkumar Suresh Singh (2014). “Women Participation and Panchayati Raj in Manipur”. Jounral of International Academic Research for Multidisciplinary. Vol 2. Issue 2. March 2014.

  25. Nisha, M. Ameen, and D. Vezhaventhan (2018). “Political Empowerment and Participation of Women in India” International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics. Volume 120 No. 5 2018, 4721-4736

  26. Oinam, Sunil (2017). “10 Women Nominees in Manipur Poll fray”. TNN. The Times of India, February 22, 2017

  27. Pandey, T.K. (2013). “Women Empowerment: Participation in Panchayati Raj Institutions”. The Challenge 22(1): 1-7

  28. Parratt, Saroj N Arambam and John Parratt (2001). “The Second 'Women's War' and the Emergence of Democratic Government in Manipur” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct., 2001), pp. 905-919 Published by: Cambridge University Press. Stable URL: Accessed: 20-12-2019 08:12 UTC

  29. Parratt, Saroj N Arambam and John Parratt (2011). “The History and Culture of Manipur” California: Hayloft Publishing Ltd.

  30. Rowlands, J. (1995). “Empowerment examined” Development in Practice. 5 (2): 101-7

  31. Singha, Monojit (2016). “Women Empowerment through Panchayati Raj Institutions: A Case Study”.  Journal of Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities Volume 2, No. 3, 2016, 115-120 ISSN: 2413-9270

  32. Takhellambam, Bhabananda (2000-2001). Women’s Uprising in Manipur: A legacy Continued. New Delhi. WISCOMP

  33. Tandon Tanu, (2016). “Women Empowerment: Perspectives and Views”, The International Journal of Indian Psychology, Volume 3, Issue 3, No. 8, DIP: 18.01.134/20160303. Retrieved 13 December 2018, Available at

  34. Thokchom Umavati (2010). “An Investigation into the Dynamics of Sex Ratio in Manipur since 1951”, Unpublished PhD thesis, Manipur University.

  35. Tikoo, Ratna (2000). “Women’s Representative Issue: A reviewed constitutional Empowerment”. 3-day Seminar on Gender Equity.28-30 March 2000. Department of Adult Continuing Education and Extension, Manipur University, Canchipur, Imphal

  36. UNDP (United Nations Development Program) (1995). Human Development Report 1995. New York: Oxford University Press.

  37. United Nations (2019). “The Sustainable Development Agenda” Retrieved 23 December 2019. Available at

  38. UNWomen (2020). Facts and figures: Leadership and political participation. Retrieved 20 December 2020 from

  39. Yumnam, Amar (2000). “The Plight of Manipuri Women-Economic Role and Economic Rights”. Manipur Update. Vol I Issue II. January 2000

About Us

The Asian Institute of Research is an online and open-access platform to publish recent research and articles of scholars worldwide. Founded in 2018 and based in Indonesia, the Institute serves as a platform for academics, educators, scholars, and students from Asia and around the world, to connect with one another. The Institute disseminates research that is proven or predicted to be of significant influence for the general public.

Contact Us

Please send all inquiries to the email:

Business Address:

5th Floor, Kavling 507, Fajar Graha Pena Tower, Jl. Urip Sumohardjo No.20, Makassar, Indonesia 90234

Copyright © 2018 The Asian Institute of Research. All rights reserved

Stay Connected

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle