Actor Kalki Koechlin has come up with a 'Womanifesto' for the upcoming general elections.
The other women behind this initiative are advocate Karuna Nundy, Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women Association, Centre for Advocacy and Research executive director Akhila Sivadas and Kavita Srivastava of the Peoples' Union of Civil Liberties.
It suggests that political parties should include issues like women's safety and rights in their poll manifestos.
A petition on Avaaz.org was filed on March 8. Avaaz is an online group that helps reach out to the people and takes their opinions on issues raised by those who have filed petitions on the website.
The Womanifesto reminds the readers about how high the level of grotesque violence against women in our society has reached.
The petition claims that Aam Admi Party's (AAP) manifesto, yet to be released, "endorses the Womanifesto". It further seeks people's support to ensure that "Congress and BJP know that their votes depend" on how much they care for women's safety and rights.
The page where the Womanifesto is displayed incorporates options to contact the various political parties. The page has the phone numbers, Twitter and Facebook accounts of BJP, Congress, Aam Admi Party, Janta Dal United and Bahujan Samaj Party so the readers can directly contact these parties.
The petition has a clear six-point agenda for the betterment of women and their safety in our country.
1. Educate for equality: Bring in better public education system.
2. Make laws accountable: Each department involved in delivering justice should have clearly stated action plan for the same.
3. Put women in power: Support Women's Reservation Bill and disqualify anyone who has committed a crime of gender discrimination.
4. Police for the people: Zero tolerance for moral policing and ensure a comprehensive response protocol for the police.
5. Quick delivery of justice: Bring in laws and ensure their implementation to punish the criminals of gender discrimination.
6. Financial stability: Ensure secure, dignified and remunerative employment for women.
Women's safety and rights on parties' manifesto
While BJP and AAP, two of the three major parties in the country, are yet to announce their manifesto for the general elections, Congress's manifesto is out.
It says, "Our top priority will be the Women's Reservation Bill and strict implementation of the Child Labour and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Acts. One-stop crisis centres for women will be set up in all hospitals. We will ensure all police stations have at least 25% women staffers. We will pass a Citizens' Charter for Women's Safety."
Arvind Kejriwal's AAP's manifesto for Delhi polls said, "Citizens' Security Forces would be formed with a branch in each ward who would provide security to anyone in distress, but with special focus on security of women, children and senior citizens."
It also promised fast-track courts which will hear cases of crime against women on priority, implementation of Verma Committee recommendations and ensuring lighting and security provisions on roads, parks, buses and all public spaces.
Interestingly, the Womanifesto mentions twice that "Arvind Kejriwal's AAP has already included these suggestions in their manifesto for the polls."