Women Networking for Peace

Political Participation

Alternate Women's Parliament Report 2009

NAWO Women’s Political Manifesto 2009

The National Alliance of Women’s Manifesto and Charter of Demands 2009, is the culmination of several meetings and consultations at the grassroots level across the country involving women from various sectors, classes, occupations and backgrounds.

Having been denied social, economic and political rights over centuries we stand with other marginalized and excluded groups denied these rights especially women of Oppressed and Deprived Castes and Communities who represent half the population yet live below the poverty line, illiterate and exploited.

We will not tolerate injustice, corruption and discrimination of any kind.  To this end we will prepare and educate women across the country on the perils of the present political system.

We define our politics:

  • As based on equality, freedom, solidarity, justice, and peace.

 

  • As gender-just, secular, eco-friendly, equitable and pro-people.
  • As value-based and violence-free, affirming sustainable communities, value people’s knowledge and culture.

 

  • Creating a space for freedom of expression and dissent.
  • Ensuring that rights go with the responsibility not to jeopardize the rights of fellow human beings.

 

We are gravely concerned about:

  • The globalization of our national economy and the growing debt trap.

 

  • Mega projects that result in displacement, deprivation which has marginalized local sustainable life systems and denied millions of people a life of human dignity.
  • The assault on our natural resources and the ecological degradation threatening life in all its forms.

 

  • The commercialisation and privatisation of basic services resulting in denial of basic needs and entitlements to citizens.
  • The ‘criminalisation of politics’ and ‘politicisation of crime’ combined with the lack of accountability of politicians rendering the democratic processes redundant.

 

  • The rapid rise of fundamentalism and fascism, in the name of religion, language, caste and culture destroying the diversity and democratic culture of our people.

 

Charter of Demands

Political Demands

  • Public declaration of assets of political candidates.

 

  • We demand the right to recall elected candidates involved in criminal activities violence against women and promoting communal hatred.
  • Separation of politics from caste, class and religion.

 

  • Right to Information for all citizens of the country.
  • Public hearings on projects and policies that affect people’s lives involving their informed consent.

 

  • The nexus between the liquor lobby and politics should be destroyed and political parties disqualified for using funds from liquor barons. 
  • Promotion and glamorization of gender based violence through electronic media should be curbed.

 

Economic Demands

  • End to commercialization of agricultural land and sale of land to multi-national companies.

 

  • Guarantee people’s rights to common resources.
  • Guarantee of food security and price control of essential commodities through Public Distribution System.

 

  • Political and social education for women in self-help groups so that they exercise citizenship and do not remain vote banks
  • Minimum wages and Equal wages for equal work.

 

  • Social security for women in unorganised sector
  • Safe working environment in both organised and unorganised sectors

 

  • Equality of opportunity and access to resources, employment, livelihood opportunities to women
  • Sufficient budget allocation for gender specific needs.

 

Social Demands

  • Improved access to education, health, child care, communication and transport.

 

  • More budget allocation for education, vocational training, health care at panchayat levels.
  • State provision of basic needs like drinking water, sanitation and shelter.

 

  • Ban on all hazardous contraceptives and hazardous drugs.

Women’s Rights - We affirm that all Women’s Rights are Human Rights

We demand:

  • Implementation of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

 

  • The effective implementation of laws to eliminate all forms of harassment and violence against women in private, public areas and during conflicts of all kinds.
  • Review and reform of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 to regulate television programmes which are detrimental and negative to women.

 

Towards building an equitable gender just society

  • Protect the basic rights of citizens where electricity, transport, education, health etc. have been privatised.

 

  • Ensure proper protection of the labour rights and entitlements with regard to MNC’s.
  • Land is a collective heritage which should not be violated for profit. Land alienation is a critical issue in our country. Permanently assign land in the name of women which cannot be sold or alienated.

 

  • Prevent sale of agricultural land to Special Economic Zones and alienation of land, false transfer of titles etc.

Children

  • Protect the rights of children particularly of vulnerable sections like child labour, trafficked children, drop outs, children with disability and children living with HIV/AIDS.

 

  • Prevent violation of child rights in the name of culture and tradition. Cultural practices like child marriage, temple dedication, female infanticide, foeticide and child sexual abuse should be stopped completely.

Education

  • We demand implementation of the fundamental right to education and creation of institutions that are easily accessible to the people. 

 

  • The curriculum should be gender sensitive, include human rights, child rights and promote secular and democratic values.
  • Create inclusive educational institutions for mentally and physically disabled children.  

 

  • Increase the number of residential schools and hostels for children as ensuring a clean and safe environment, free from health hazards, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Health

  • Ensure basic quality health care service in remote rural areas.   

 

  • Health policies and schemes must be designed from a gender perspective.
  • Recognize and protect the right to health of marginalised groups, persons with disability, positive people, sex workers and transgender people.  

 

Communalism

  • Ensure freedom of religion and take firm action in communal conflicts.

 

  • Repeal laws that promote hatred and are against the freedom of religion.
  • Retrain law enforcement personnel on rights of minorities and prohibit indiscriminate use of fire arms and bombs against civilians during disturbances.

 

  • Internal displaced refugees due to communal and caste conflicts must be protected and rehabilitated on a priority basis.

Disaster

  • In event of disaster fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami, the state should act promptly to rescue and rehabilitate people affected. 

 

  • Relief should be effective, immediate, transparent and corruption in relief measures should be stringently punished.

Environment

  • Respect, promote and protect the rights of indigenous people and their access to the forest.

 

  • Implement the Forest Act 2006 while raising awareness of climate change, depleting resources, extinction of species and preservation of wild life.

We are gravely concerned about the increase of terrorist violence in the region. We would urge political parties and the state to exercise restraints and control in the war on terror. Innocent victims of terror attack and innocent suspects hunted by the state are increasing our suffering beyond measure. We are concerned that the threat of attack and border security might escalate into war


We call on all individuals, groups and social movements to assert their power to transform our society into one which:

    • Protects the basic human rights of all people, but especially women, minorities and other traditionally marginalised communities

 

    • Works to ensure that all individuals are given equal access to basic resources, amenities and opportunities
    • Promotes peace and harmony between individuals and groups 

 

    • Recognises the fundamental equality of all people.