Election 2019 is different is one significant way. It will put the spotlight on the female voter. In the 2014 election, the percentage difference in voter turnout among men and women was at its narrowest margin of just 1.8 percentage points. Some say, with more women coming out to vote across India, female voters may outnumber men.
Whatever the case, women and their issues will find headlines, press, political commentary and more in the run up. At SheThePeople, we have a brilliant series called the Women and the Vote – which is doing some serious commentary on how women can impact the elections – as candidates, representatives, voters and opinion shapers.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, the spokesperson of the Indian National Congress talks about the Women Manifesto of the Congress. She picks the following four issues
1. Higher participation of women in public spaces
2. More jobs and skills for women
3. More public agency for women
4. Need for more policy interventions
Jobs A Key Issue for Women
“It worries us that women are dropping out of the workforce. Why are women the worst affected in job reports?,” Priyanka says. Women are equal when it comes for demanding jobs. “Not just about entrepreneurship, we want more corporations on board.” She also add maternity benefits have to reworked at in order to improve women included in the workforce. “When you come up with a policy, it sounds great, this 26 week leave but many women are not selected by the companies because of this long leave clause. We need to rework the ecosystem.”
Priyanka Chaturvedi adds that the job of the government is not to create jobs but to enable them. Eventually she says the jobs would be created by companies.
Public Safety and Agency
She says women’s safety is not having women only buses but a detailed approach to safety which looks at giving women more agency while they are in public spaces. “We have to move to prevention. The more women coming out in public spaces that’s important. We need to normalise women in spaces. CCTVs, public transport being accessible to women and patrolling on the roads in sensitive roads. Most importantly we need accountability. And no government can absolve itself from taking responsibility.”