GUWAHATI, Jan 22 - Demanding the political parties to make their election manifestos a gender-sensitive one for the well being of women in Assam, the North East Network and more than 100 organisations across Assam have prepared and endorsed �women�s manifesto for equality and social justice� for the coming Assembly elections.
Assam is among the five States of the country with lowest Female Empowerment Index or Femdex according to the McKinsey Global Index (MGI) survey 2015. The complex issues plaguing women in Assam are the problems of trafficking, violence, superstitious practices like witch-hunting and increasing incidents of sexual assault and rape cases.
Highlighting the crucial issues, the manifesto has been endorsed by 104 organisations and groups across Assam.
�Women�s Manifesto� is a first-of-its-kind in Assam. Initiated by the North East Network (NEN), the manifesto highlights key demands before the political parties to achieve equality and social justice. The manifesto lists expectations from the political parties in areas pertaining to economy, education, health, safety, representation and State obligation towards women,� said Sheetal Sarma, a senior programme associate of the NEN.
The manifesto advocated a gender sensitive and time bound employment policy, implementation of Minimum Wages Act, social security, management of PDS shops by women, promotion of gender audits, skill training for women, and increased involvement of women for group farming, plantation, agro-forestry and primary food processing industry in the economic field.
In education sector, it demanded education policy for girls and women, mobile library for neo-literate women, rationalisation of teachers in schools based on local area needs, monitoring systems to check child marriages etc.
In health also the manifesto demanded urgent antenatal care, anaemia interventions, addressing the needs of nutrition, food security and health education in right perspective.
It also asked the political parties to put up at least one- third women candidates in coming Assembly elections as per the Women�s Reservation Bill.
Through a localized participatory process of dialogue, NEN has collaborated with Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, NEST, The ANT, Matribhumi Block Mahasangha and Professor Archana Sharma of Gauhati University to weave the initiative. The process has been welcomed by the citizens of Assam and reflects people�s expectations from their government.
�Widespread mobilization is being done by NEN and its partner groups at the grassroots level to create awareness about elections, women�s issues and good governance. Advocacy with the political parties is also being done so that their agenda reflect the demands put in the women�s manifesto,� she added.