WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND GENDER JUSTICE
Historically, Congress has been at the forefront of the struggle for women’s rights, equality and empowerment. India’s only woman Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi, belonged to the Congress. We passed many laws that empowered women. We mainstreamed gender in government schemes.
- Congress promises to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha.
- We will amend the Service Rules to reserve for women 33 per cent of appointments to posts in the Central Government.
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 will be enforced effectively. We will review all laws that stipulate wage rates to provide that men and women are paid the same wage for similar work.
- We will stipulate that every Special Economic Zone shall have working women’s hostels and safe transport facilities to increase the participation of women in the labour force.
- We will repeal any provision of law that prohibits night shifts for women.
- Sufficient night shelters will be built for migrant women workers. Adequate number of safe and hygienic public toilets for women will be provided in towns and cities. Sanitary napkin vending machines will be installed in public spaces, schools and colleges.
- Congress promises a comprehensive review of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces Act, 2013 and will extend the Act to all workplaces. We will additionally institute measures to address all forms of harassment of women.
- Congress will pass a model legislation to establish a separate investigative agency to investigate heinous crimes against women and children and urge State Governments to enact a law to establish such an investigative agency.
- Congress pioneered the women’s self-help group (SHG) movement that today boasts of 87 lakh groups. Congress also launched the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM – Aajeevika). We promise to launch NRLM-2 to make SHGs a key instrument for the economic empowerment of women, to increase livelihood opportunities and to usher in transformative social change.
- We will work with State Governments to implement a programme to provide single, widowed, divorced, abandoned or destitute women a dignified and secure life.
- Congress promises to launch a programme to appoint an Adhikar Maitri in every Panchayat to serve as a paralegal to educate women on, and assist them in the enforcement of, their legal rights.
- We will pass suitable legislation to make registration of marriages compulsory and we will enforce the law prohibiting child marriages.
- Congress promises to expand ICDS and provide a crèche in every Anganwadi based on need and demand.