Reviewed by Kunal Kanodia
Nadia Kale’s paper “The Effects of India’s Gender Quota in Local Government on Rates of Reporting Rapes of Women from Scheduled Castes and Tribes” makes an interesting connection between the increase in female representation in local government in India, and the reporting of sexual assault cases by women who belong to scheduled castes and tribes (traditionally backward and underprivileged castes under the caste system). Kale’s rationale behind this correlation is particularly interesting; she maintains that the impact of mandated increases in female representation may have been an increase in the rate of reporting of rapes for all women, this has not been the case for women who are particularly marginalized as members of scheduled castes and tribes.
Kale uses distinct methods to assess this startling discovery between what would seem a casual correlation between two otherwise unrelated variables. She uses evidence from studies that looked at factors motivating reporting of crimes against women, though this is hampered by the fact that the studies in question look at Washington D.C. and Kansas. This rests on the assumption that the factors that motivate a woman to report a case of sexual assault in the United States can be extrapolated to marginalized women in India.
That being said, the rest of Kale’s paper is extraordinary in its depth and succinctness of analysis of this important phenomenon in the country. Despite significant limitations in the kind of data that is available for violent crimes against women in the country, Kale uses excellent sources that validate her findings statistically. In particular, she finds herself further limited by the lack of detailed reporting of the reporting of sexual assault on women from scheduled castes and tribes in India. It nevertheless makes for a very well written and researched paper that I would highly recommend!
Read the full paper here!