Bihar: Women Driving Change Through Alcohol Ban
Published in the BBC, Milan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson have written a compelling story about women changing India, with the specific example of the women in the northern Indian state of Bihar.
The women who fought to ban alcohol
In the world’s largest democracy, politicians are finding that they need to listen to women if they want power,” the authors write.
An example they explore is the alcohol ban introduced after powerful campaigns from women in Bihar, that has affected 100 million people in their state. Domestic violence, petty crime, anti-social behavior, and wasted income have been alcohol-related problems the campaigners needed to address and since the ban have been reduced.
In Bihar’s state election in 2015 women’s turnout exceeded men’s by 7%. And their campaign to ban alcohol was successful. Concerned about re-election, Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar promised to prohibit alcohol when he won local re-election. Within a year or two after the ban, the government reported that violent crime had fallen drastically, while money available for cars and tractors increased.
Women for transformative change
What has caused the sudden political mobilisation of women across India?
Increased female literacy and education have certainly brought more women to the polls.
But while progress on those measures has been slow, female voter turnout has shot up in just a decade.
A combination of personal factors and government intervention is likely to have contributed.
High-profile cases of violence against women have undoubtedly galvanised female voters to fight for rights and safety in their communities.”