Misery of a Manifesto
Another election yet another set of promises for women with the bunch of party manifestos. They all have something in common – large number of glossy pages and those pages filled with empty promises for women. From a commitment to pass the reservation bill and implementing the equal pay act, to launching various programs for empowerment and safety. There is a whole bag full of promises that are borrowed straight from the last election. Irrespective of whichever party comes to power, women’s concern remains unresolved.
In 2014, I remember, BJP promised reservation for women but failed to fulfill it, just like Congress did over the years. They have launched schemes for women safety and education, but if the truth be told, according to public reports on these schemes, most of their funds remain unused or are only used for publicity. And, being a woman I don’t need a report to certify how unsafe we are in this country! Nirbhaya killers have not yet received their punishment while Kathua and Unnao cases are still on trial. Many such cases are awaiting justice and more are added to the list every day.
The problem is not the lack of policies or laws; it is the lack of intent to implement them. Forget laws, if they really mean to uplift the status of women in this society, political parties can start by taking disciplinary action against their own members for being chauvinist and sexist to fellow women parliamentarians, before promising us the moon.
The reality is that women are still not safe without equal opportunities or equal pay and have child marriages, and serious sex ratio problem. This is the reality that needs a mention in party manifestos. I don’t want to read what you are going to do, if I elect you. I want you to publicly declare the reason we have these issues.
How long before I see the change? If I can offer one piece of advice to the parties, this election I would say: Work on your accountability and stop wasting paper on the manifestos. Mere policies are not helping anyway, we might as well save the environment.