No Nyay without Nari Nyay

Women in India face injustice every day. They face countless obstacles as they seek work, stay safe, stand up for their rights, or even just to voice their opinion. This is the painful reality that countless women in India face at home, in public places, at work, and even in government.

We must also remember that women are farmers, labourers, youth, OBCs, Dalits, Adivasis, and minorities. Women from any group suffer doubly because they are women, making their struggle even more crucial to address.

In the past decade, the overall unemployment situation has affected women the most, with two out of every three women out of employment today. The surge in the price of household essentials such as LPG, cooking oil, flour and milk over the same period has further burdened women who struggle to manage their households. This double-blow at home and work has left women with less money, fewer options, and fewer opportunities.

The Congress party is dedicated to Nari Nyay. Recognition of the challenges they have faced is not enough. We will take action to make systemic and societal discrimination against women a thing of the past. We will foster an environment where every woman can live the life they want without worry. Our five guarantees for Nari Nyay - Mahalaxmi; Aadhi Aabaadi, Poora Haq; Shakti ka Samaana; Adhikar Maitris; and Savitribai Phule Hostels, are powerful tools in this effort.

Financial independence enables women to stand on their own two feet and make their own decisions. In support of our vision for inclusive growth, our Mahalakshmi scheme guarantees Rs 1 lakh per year to one woman in each of the poorest families in the country. We believe that when money flows into the hands of women, everything changes for the better - for them, their families, and their communities.

Many women struggle to find employment to support themselves and their families. Those who find a job face numerous obstacles, and are forced to choose between their employment and their safety. They should not have to compromise. We believe that providing safe and accessible accommodation can alleviate some of these challenges and empower women to excel at their workplaces. Consequently, we will double the number of working women's hostels in the country through our Savitribai Phule Hostels initiative.

The risks to safety and well-being are not limited to working women however. They are an everyday reality which all women endure - be it in public spaces or at home. Crimes against women have nearly doubled in the past decade. Women who speak out against injustice are often silenced. The current government seems to not only be apathetic, but actively supporting this environment. They have brutally suppressed women wrestlers protesting sexual misconduct by one of their MPs, freed convicted rapists and shared a stage with them in Gujarat, ignored the plight of women facing sexual violence in Manipur, just to name a few.

The Congress envisions an India where women are free from injustice and can lead comfortable lives. We already have legislation to address crimes against women such as domestic violence, dowry, and sexual violence and many more. However, existing structures and systems continue to fail our women. One reason is because women have been denied the access and resources to know and assert their rights. To address this systemic flaw we will recruit a cadre of Adhikar Maitris appointed in every panchayat across the country. She will be a champion for women’s empowerment - providing information and education on rights, supporting women in fighting for those rights, and ensuring they are enforced.

At the same time, we already have existent cadres of champions who support women, children, and communities as a whole. 10 lakh ASHA workers, 13 lakh Anganwadi workers, and 25 lakh Mid-day Meal workers provide for the health, education, and nutrition of the women and children of the country on a daily basis. During crises like COVID they fight on the front lines to protect our communities. Yet, they face a lack of recognition for their hard work. Despite nationwide protests demanding wage increases, the appeals of these workers have been disregarded. Acknowledging them as the backbone of local health and childcare, the Congress guarantees Shakti ka Saaman, which doubles the salary contribution of the centre for all ASHA, Anganwadi, and Mid-day Meal workers.

To tackle the many challenges faced by women, we must also address the root causes. System issues will not be resolved if decisions for women are made by mostly men. Currently, women hold less than 11% roles in central government. Congress' Aadhi Aabadhi, Poora Haq guarantee will change this by reserving 50% of new central government jobs for women. In addition to providing employment to the many qualified women job aspirants, we will promote women's roles in government and ensure their voices are heard in decision-making. Contrary to BJP’ stance of not reserving government jobs for women, we assert that female representation is crucial for their long-term empowerment. An equal number of women and men doctors, professors, and IPS officers will help shatter stereotypes and inspire future generations. Representation in police will also enhance women's security.

We believe our guarantees salute the significant and tireless roles women play in our societies and nation. Our guarantees are designed to pave the way for their success. It is time to create an environment for women where they thrive, not just survive.