Two leading women's organisations Thursday released a gender manifesto in the national capital, demanding that political parties commit themselves to addressing issues of discrimination against women in their manifestos.
The two organisations have sought that political parties take their demands into account for assembly and general elections.
Calling for inclusive and gender-sensitive governance, and the passage of the pending Women's Reservation Bill, the manifesto, drafted by the Centre for Social Research and WomenPowerConnect (WPC), an advocacy body, called for committed work to end gender discrimination.
"The manifesto calls on political parties to take their responsibilities towards Indian women seriously, and take steps to guarantee gender equality in all sectors of society. This democratic struggle has gone on for 17 long years, and it is high time the political parties wake up to our call," said Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research.
Kumari was joined by Radhika Khajuria, senior programme coordinator, WPC, Rekha Modi, president, Stree Shakti and Bina Jain, president, All India's Women's Conference, in unveiling the manifesto.
Kumari added that the government must fulfil its obligation to table the women's reservation bill in the winter session of parliament.
"The manifesto calls for all parties to take an active role in addressing women's safety, health and nutrition, work opportunities and education," she said.
"The members of the Lok Sabha must follow the lead of their Rajya Sabha colleagues in passing the bill," she said.
The key demands outlined within the manifesto include addressing issues related to the girl child, elderly women and women who face multiple forms of discrimination.
It also recommends that political parties ensure the establishment and inclusion of women's wings in the party structure, and assess the level of gender equality within the party. Steps should be taken to ensure women's participation on governing boards by including internal quotas, the manifesto has said.
Holding political parties guilty of using manifestoes solely for winning the elections, Jain said 33 percent reservation in representative bodies was the right of every women.
"The system today has become such that we can stoop to any level to come to power. We are not demanding 50 percent reservation; its just 33 percent, and that too only because women have the ability to run the system in an organised way," she said.