ABSTRACT

This chapter introduces the reader to the parshad-pati phenomenon by opening with a narrative from one of the most dramatic examples of a parshad-pati completely shutting his elected wife out from her elected responsibility. This interview began with the author arriving expecting to talk with the parshad herself. However, her husband indicated that he intended to give the interview entirely himself, and it became clear that the author would not be meeting the parshad. This experience was replicated multiple times over the course of the project, ranging from the parshad attending but barely participating in the interview to husbands delivering the entire interview themselves while the actual parshad remained hidden behind a locked door. This narrative illustrates many of the key dynamics presented in the rest of the book: the blatant way in which husbands, the parshad-patis, openly demonstrated the authority they had seized as they sidelined their elected wives and the overall restrictive environment many women parshads had to act within. This example sets the primary argument of the book: that gender quotas can increase the number of women in elected office, but they do not necessarily lead to comprehensive improvements in women’s representation on multiple levels.