PM Narendra Modi will form the BJP led government for the next five years, starting 2019. In this election, women and men turned up in equal numbers to vote, with a turnout of 67% each, much higher than earlier years. This means, women have rested faith in what an elected government can do for their future. Here are the main issues women raised when SheThePeople reached out.
- JOBS : The Prime Minister in 2014 had said women are not just home makers but nation builders. Women seek far better job prospects from the government given the weakening jobs scenario in the country. “Why did politicians not talk to us about employment in their campaigning? ” asks Suman who insists economic empowerment of women should be far great priority for our politicians. In India the women in the workforce statistics have dwindled from 35% in 2005 to 26.7% in 2018.
- SAFETY: Women’s safety has had much more attention in the last few years but on ground things need to improve much quicker for the world’s largest democracy, where half the population is female. A SheThePeople-Safecity survey among women showed that only 25% women feel safe walking on streets, 44.6% women feel unsafe and 30.5% are neutral about it.
- WOMEN IN POLITICS: Women surveys by SheThePeople-Safecity says they would want the country’s Parliament to be more inclusive. About 86.8% women thought women reservation bill will improve number of women representatives in parliament while 31.2% still feel that it wouldn’t bring the desired change.
- BETI BACHAO BETI BADHAO: This is one of the biggest schemes by the Modi government and received criticism for being more publicity less positive. Women are hoping that According to the statistics released by the census of 2011, India’s female literacy rate is 65.46 percent, significantly lower than the world average of 79.7 percent. Importantly while many young women join primary schools, they don’t sustain through the classes. In one village in Rajasthan, SheThePeople noted there was a board outside a school where villagers were offered financial incentives every time their daughter moved up classes in school, so as to retain the student for the entire education program.
- TOILETS, HYGIENE, HEALTH: Swachch Bharat is a flagship campaign out of the Modi government with mixed results. However it does carry a lot of promise. The Modi government has said they have added over nine crore toilets have been built in last four years and over 4.5 lakh villages have been declared as open defecation free. But access to toilets does not mean open defecation has ended. Having said that women are huge recipients of any change on this front, because it directly impacts them and it directly involves them. Expectations are the new government will build on this and use Nari Shakti to make it widespread through behavioural change. Part of this over all plan for health, Ujjwala scheme where LPG connections replace the hazardous chullas has done very done. The government has said it provided for 8 crore connections and women directly benefit from this.