#GenderEqualityElectionWatch: Manifest(o) Misogyny: The INC Manifesto for the Himachal Pradesh 2017 Assembly election

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Election Manifesto 2017

In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress is seeking re-election so their manifesto opens by asking: Why the Congress again in 2017? The answers are not very persuasive, the content repetitive and the language weak. But never mind, because this is a gender audit and what we really want to know is what the Congress is promising to women and what its approach is to gender issues. On that note, in the introduction we are told that with the UPA, schemes have been introduced and implemented for the welfare of every section of society including women. They have gone, we are told, beyond the promises of their last manifesto. The introduction reassures us that women will be provided with respect and safety.

The Congress manifesto has a section “For Women” in which it promises:

  • Academic support to meritorious girl students.
  • Hostels for working women in cities.
  • Pension schemes for orphaned girls, girls and women with disabilities and widows.
  • Appropriate justice and administrative measures to fast track cases of harassment and misdemeanours against women.
  • Access to credit for self-employed women.
  • Self-defence training centres in every district to train women.
  • Women’s police stations in every district.
  • Anganwadi Centres in every village to take care of women and children.
  • Expansion of the free ambulance service for pregnant women.
  • A ‘Woman Safety Application’ will be operationalised for women’s safety.
  • Women’s organisations will be strengthened in every way.
  • The grant given for the marriages of the daughters of widowed women will be expanded.

Under the category of health care, it is promised that more women will be trained as nurses.

Overall, there is less text devoted in this manifesto to women (as compared to the BJP) but women for the Congress are students, workers and entrepreneurs. They are professionals—police and nurses. Their health-care needs, at least as mothers, are addressed. Self-defence and safety are addressed here, rather than the patriarchal attitudes that lead to violence, but the tone is less paternalistic.

Talking gender equality at election time (1)

Going by the Prajnya Gender Equality Election Checklist however:

  • Again, the numbers of candidates are low.
  • It is not clear how much support they are getting.
  • Misogynistic speech is a non-issue.
  • There is no promise to end impunity or to bar those who are charge-sheeted for crimes against women.
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#GenderEqualityElectionWatch: Counting women candidates

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As candidate lists emerge across the states, we are counting and trying to list women candidates across the major parties in each state. At the moment it looks like 9 is the magic percentage. No matter how many candidates are being fielded, the percentage of women candidates seems to hover at around nine percent. So far from gender parity, that it’s not even worth mentioning the phrase!

Access the Women Candidates List here as we update it.

Where are we getting this data from? Primarily one site that seems to be uploading lists as they emerge. The lists are not gender disaggregated so then we pore over them and arrive at this count, based on what appear to be women’s names. This is obviously not the best way–just the most expedient.

We therefore invite political parties to check our information and feel free to send us updates, corrections and lists of their women candidates. You can email us at psw.prajnya@gmail.com or tag us on Twitter @prajnya.

 

#GenderEqualityElectionWatch: Goa and Punjab Candidate list update

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It’s candidate list time.

Goa

The BJP’s first list for Goa includes 29 candidates (40 seats in Goa) and of these 29, only one candidate is a woman–Alina Matanhy Saldanha, the sitting MLA from Cortalim.

AAP has announced 36 candidates. Of these, four are women. These are Ursula D’Souza from Aldona, Sraddha Khalap from Mapusa, Lorreta D’Souza from Vasco-da-gama and Cecille Rodrigues from Taleigao.

The Congress list of 27 candidates includes three women: Jennifer Monserrate from Talaigao, Urmila Naik from Margao and Savitri Kawlekar from Sanguem.

The Shiv Sena has nominated no women.

The NCP has nominated five candidates and one, Nelly Rodrigues (from Cortalim), is a woman.

(Source: http://www.elections.in/goa/assembly-constituencies/candidate-list.html)

Punjab

The BJP‘s first list of candidates for Punjab nominates seventeen, of which two are women, both sitting MLAs: Seema Kumari of Bhoa and Sukhjeet Kaur Sahi from Dasuya.

The Shiromani Akali Dal has nominated 87 candidates of whom four are women: Upinderjit Kaur from Sultanpur Lodhi, Vaninder Kaur Loomba from Sutrana, Harpreet Kaur Mukhmailpur from Ghanaur and Bibi Mohinder Kaur from Sham Chaurasi.

The Congress has across three lists nominated 100 candidates. Nine are women. These are: Aruna Chaudhary from Dina Nagar, Satkar Kaur from Firozpur Rural, Ranjit Kaur Bhatti from Budhlada, Harchand Kaur from Mehal Kalan, Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary from Phillaur, Rajwinder Kaur Bhagikay from Nihal Singhwala, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from Lehra, Karon Kaur Brar from Muktsar and Razia Sultana from Malerkotla. Incidentally, the first six are constituencies reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.

AAP has nominated 117 candidates and nine are women. AAP women candidates are Harjiot Kaur from Banga, Sarvjit Kaur Manuke from Jagraon, Rupinder Kaur from Bathinda Rural, Palwinder Kaur from Shutrana, Prof. Baljinder Kaur from Talwandi Sabo, Balbir Kaur Phull from Dasuya, Sarabjit Kaur from Dera Bassi, Anu Randhawa from Ghanaur and Kuldeep Kaur Tohra from Sanour. The first four are reserved SC seats.

There do not appear to be any women among the 18 BSP Punjab candidates.

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In sum, political parties are performing pathetically on the inclusivity criterion.

 

#GenderEqualityElectionWatch: Punjab Congress Manifesto Notes

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On January 9, 2017, the Indian National Congress released its Punjab manifesto. This is a 129-page epic for which they could not find an editor, but never mind that–after all, if someone gets their gender politics right, we won’t care how they write!

Simplifying the word ‘gender’ to mean ‘women’ (which we will end up doing everywhere, I suspect!), I found only one section called ‘Women Empowerment’ whose provisions were extended and elaborated twice. In the nine-point opening summary, this is what we read: “Women Empowerment: 33% reservation for women in jobs and educational institutions”.

Further down, on page 26, this is extended to include allocation of residential and commercial plots. Moreover, reservation for women in urban and rural self-government would go up to 50%.

Finally, on page 110, the Manifesto makes seven additional promises, including livelihood training for widows of farmers who have committed suicide; free education for girls; Safe Cities for women and Crisis Centres; a stronger State Commission for Women and a State Policy on Women’s Empowerment.

There is one other provision that applies to women–it is the promise to require registration of NRI marriages as a protection for brides.

Women do not appear anywhere else in the Manifesto. The list of poll promises is as generic as it gets. There is little clue that anyone gave gender issues or gender equality any thought. Hardly very surprising, and perhaps this is what we can expect from all the Manifestos, which makes it a very good reason to audit them for their gender provisions and call them on their shortcomings.