Parties' Manifesto must treat women equally

Delhi elections: Women voters want manifesto to address more than their safety issues

While political parties are sweating it out to woo the electorate ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls, women voters in the national capital feel manifestos should offer more to them than limiting their demands to safety issues.

Adult females of different age groups and from varied demographics here feel that political parties assume that they should talk to women voters only about their security and prevention of sexual crimes, though they would prefer to be treated simply as voters irrespective of their gender.

"Whenever there are elections, they (parties) start blowing the 'women's security' trumpet. Are we part of the vote bank only for security which they miserably fail to provide? Do we not need water or electricity or jobs? All parties have generalised our demands," said 32-year-old Shyna Kalra, an IT professional who is a resident of Sarita Vihar.

Rani Devi, a 52-year-old house help in Mayapuri, said, "Everybody needs security but what about ground issues. At least we get free travel in buses now, what will we do with the promises of security? Give us what everybody else is entitled to".

Rekha Gautam (20), a student at ARSD college and a resident of Moti Bagh, is unimpressed that whenever any candidate meets women to seek votes, they give the example of Nirbhaya. "It's time political parties start seeing women voters as more mature individuals rather than giving the security lollypop to us," she said.

Another college student, Nisha Mishra, said, "Even for basics we would like to see parties addressing issues like menstrual health. It's a pity that no one even bothers to promise them, forget fulfilling them. We definitely want safety, CCTVs and much more but it should not be seen as our only need and demand".

Healthcare professional Nishtha Tomar, a Rajouri Garden resident, said while there is talk of gender equality in households and workplaces, there is no such equality among voters.

"The politicians talk of jobs, trade and much more when the crowd is full of males. But if there are more females dominating the crowd, they turn to women's safety and condemning rapes and molestation," she said.

While AAP has announced that it will continue its scheme providing free bus rides to women, the BJP has announced to give Rs 51,000 for marriage of girls from financially weaker sections. Congress has announced Rs 1.1 lakh for marriage of graduate girls from financially poor households.

Of the 672 nominees fielded across all 70 seats for the February 8 Assembly elections, only 79 (11.75 pc) are women. The three main parties - AAP, BJP and Congress - have given tickets to 25 women while the remaining women candidates are running as independents.

Votes for the Delhi elections will be counted on February 11.