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In this Uttar Pradesh district, women run the show

Think Change India
24th Feb 2016
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Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao has become one of those few districts with an all-woman team heading the administrative apparatus. Here, the District Magistrate, the Police Superintendent, the Zila Panchayat Head, the Chief Development Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, the Road Transport Officer, the Child Development Project Officer, the District Probation Officer, the Mandi Sachiv and the District Election Officer are all women.

Image: (L)- BBC Hindi; (R)- Hindustan Times
Image: (L)- BBC Hindi; (R)- Hindustan Times

In a region racked by rampant gender discrimination and inequality, the 2008-batch IPS officer Neha Pandey has recently joined the district’s unique female-only lineup. “You could say the quorum is complete with the appointment of the new SP; it was the only position that a woman wasn’t holding,” district magistrate Saumya Agarwal told the Hindustan Times.

Apart from Saumya Agarwal and Neha Pandey, there are 10 other women who stand united to fight crimes against women in the region. This team’s biggest success was the way it recently conducted hassle-free panchayat elections amid simmering communal tensions in the state. Sangeeta Sengar, who occupies the powerful Zila Panchayat Head’s position, told The Times of India,

Women are not only equal to men, they can be tough competition. As zila panchayat president, I am going to work for women’s employment, make sure they get the opportunity in whichever field they choose. We are in a dominating position, and it’s great.

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