Editorial 1: A sustainable model for women’s leadership


  • Today the world is home to a transformative generation of 900 million adolescent girls and young women poised to shape the future of work and growth. If this cohort of young women could be equipped with the right resources and opportunities to nurture the 21st century skills, they would become the largest segment of women leaders, change-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in history.

Women’s leadership and India:

  • Given the many socio-economic barriers that adolescent girls confront from their earliest years, we believe that the work to cultivate their agency — for education systems to expose them to new age skill sets, critical thinking, and leadership qualities — must begin early.
  • India, home to one of the largest generations of girls and young women, has undertaken wide-ranging initiatives across the critical domains of education, health, digital and financial inclusion, leadership building, and have established feasible frameworks to help in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which envisions the world to be a more gender equal place by 2030.
  • To unleash the gender dividend and create conditions for female leadership to flourish, women at all levels of society must have inclusion in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), bodily autonomy and safety, shared responsibility within the household, and equal participation in decision-making spaces.

Scaling EdTech solutions

  • As access to digital technology increasingly becomes an arena of opportunity and basic service for children and young people, EdTech gives us tools to bridge part of the accessibility gap in education through hybrid learning models, even where girls’ access to schooling is restricted by harmful norms.
  • The World Bank notes that over 43% of Indian STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates are women. However, not all of them are represented in the workforce and tech leadership. Although STEM education among girls appears to have picked up pace over the years, there are prevailing stereotypes that characterise it as a traditionally masculine domain.
  • Some of the barriers that explain why increased women’s representation in STEM education does not translate into work participation are:
  1. Gender norms that disproportionately allocate domestic and care responsibilities to women
  2. Representation of men as leaders of STEM, finance, and entrepreneurial fields in the public perception
  3. Inadequate maternity leave
  4. Few flexible work arrangements
  5. Lack of childcare facilities/ crèches in the workplace etc

Way forward:

  • Actively countering these stereotypes calls for the inclusion of grade-appropriate STEM, financial education, and entrepreneurship syllabi into the educational curriculum for girls.
  • Introducing elements such as Olympiads, innovation labs, bootcamps and competitions can expose girls to practical applications and inspire them to build solutions to challenges in their ecosystem.

Bodily autonomy and healthy development :

  • Women need to be empowered to make decisions about their bodies, such as whether to have sexual relations or not, when to initiate sexual relations, to use contraceptives or not, and to seek health care when needed.
  • They also need to be free from all forms of violence and harassment. These basic conditions are critical to enable women and young girls to chart the trajectory of their personal and professional lives.
  • Sporting activities are synonymous with promoting leadership, self-sufficiency, and teamwork. The inclusion of adolescent girls and young women in sports can go a long way in building their self-confidence, strengthening self-belief, and imparting the nuances of teamwork.
  • Initiatives such as the National Sports Policy, as well as inclusion programmes for children from vulnerable communities have seen remarkable success.

Redistribute care work

  • From domestic chores to caring for loved ones, the backbone of thriving families, communities and economies largely falls on women. It increases in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that starkly brought out women’s disproportionate care burden. In India, this was exacerbated owing to socio-cultural norms that relegate women to unpaid reproductive labour.
  • It is crucial for us to recognise, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work, so that women may enjoy economic opportunities and outcomes on an equal footing to men.
  • Policies that provide services, social protection and basic infrastructure, promote sharing of domestic and care work between men and women, and create more paid jobs in the care economy, are urgently needed to accelerate progress on women’s economic empowerment.


  • Nurturing girls’ leadership abilities is our collective first step towards breaking down restrictive gender norms and barriers for truly gender transformative growth and accelerating girl-and-women-led progress across the Sustainable Development Goals for India and the world.

Editorial 2: Endless delay: On the conduct of Governors and legislative agenda


  • The Supreme Court will soon hear an extraordinary petition from the Telangana government, seeking a direction to the Governor, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, to grant assent to Bills passed by the State Assembly.
  • Recently, the apex court disposed of a petition from the Punjab Government that was aggrieved by an alleged delay in the Governor summoning the Assembly. The matter was resolved when it was submitted on behalf of the Governor that the Assembly would meet on the day desired by the State government.

Recent trends in Governor’s actions:

  • In earlier decades, a petition seeking a direction to Governors or questioning their inaction on constitutional matters would have been thrown out at the threshold itself. However, such is the extent to which the gubernatorial office is being overtly politicised by those holding it that courts may now be constrained to examine whether such inaction is justified.
  • One sees a disturbing tendency in recent years of some Governors making use of the absence of a time-frame in the Constitution to indefinitely delay decisions. This tactic effectively stalls the elected regime’s legislative agenda.

Position of governor in Indian constitutional scheme:

  • Article 153 states that there shall be a Governor for each State. Governor has a dual role:
  1. He is the constitutional head of the state, bound by the advice of his council of ministers.
  2. As the representative of the centre in state, he functions as a vital link between the Union Government and the State Government.

Role of the governor in bill passing by the state legislature:

  • Article 200 of the Constitution deals with grant of assent to Bills passed by the Assembly
  1. In case it’s not a money bill— It can be returned for reconsideration. Also, the governor may suggest the changes which s/he wants to be introduced. The House will have to reconsider as suggested. If the Bill is passed again, with or without changes, and presented for assent, “the Governor shall not withhold assent therefrom”
  2. In case it’s a money bill— It can’t be returned, either he will have to give his/her ascent or withhold his/ her consent (or reserve the bill for the president in rare cases)
  • But if the bill is on a subject in concurrent list then the Governor, as per Article 201, can reserve the bill for presidential assent. Once governor does so, he plays no further role in bill passing procedure. Then President can give or withdraw his assent to such a bill, without any fixed time limit.
  • The Constitution makes it mandatory that the Governor should reserve for the President’s consideration if, in his opinion, the bill is derogatory to the powers of the High Court or undermine its functioning.
  • Thus, in normal course of bill passing by state legislature (under Art 200), none of his decisions should be based on the Governor’s personal view on the Bill’s content. One can understand an occasional query if any Bill seemingly violates fundamental rights, but a relevant question that requires an authoritative pronouncement from the court is whether the Governor should decide on its legality or the legislature’s competence each time a Bill is presented for assent.


  • As the Supreme Court remarked recently, dialogue between constitutional functionaries should not become a race to the bottom. Constitutional functions should not be held hostage to political and personal differences.


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