Nagaland elects Satoli Z Swu as first woman chief, paving way for gender equality in leadership

Nagaland. Photo Courtesy The Morung Express


IBNS: The village of Kiyevi in Nagaland has chosen Satoli Z Swu, a 63-year-old retired government teacher and community stalwart, as its new village chief.

Swu’s elevation to this traditionally male-dominated role is a significant testament to the evolving dynamics in Naga society, where women are increasingly assuming prominent positions and advocating for positive change, reports Morung Express.

The historic moment took place during a dedicatory prayer ceremony on August 3, where Swu was draped with the revered Gaonbura’s Red Shawl, symbolizing her investiture as the village chief.

Swu, a mother of six and widow of the late Zheshito Swu, who was a respected leader himself, brings a wealth of experience from her years of service to both society and the church.

Her journey to leadership wasn’t without challenges, as the customary practice of hereditary Kingship initially prompted male family members to select her brother-in-law.

However, upon his refusal, Swu humbly accepted the responsibility, backed by the consensus of the village people, who recognized her capabilities and entrusted her with the role.

Defying societal norms and the remnants of gender biases, Swu remains steadfast in her commitment to advancing her community. She envisions her leadership as an opportunity to foster peace and reconciliation between the Sumi and Zeliang communities, addressing a long-standing boundary dispute that has persisted for four decades.

With optimism and determination, Swu believes that women possess unique qualities that can contribute to conflict resolution and peace-building.

Swu’s achievement resonates within the broader context of Naga women’s empowerment. Over the years, Naga women have increasingly broken barriers and shattered stereotypes, emerging as influential figures in various fields. Their amplified visibility and assertive voices have begun to reshape societal norms, marking a significant step forward in the pursuit of gender parity and inclusive leadership.

As Naga women continue to rise and make indelible marks across diverse spheres, Satoli Z Swu’s appointment as the village chief stands as a beacon of progress and an embodiment of the transformative power of women’s leadership.