Gender Issues Could Be a Game Changer in India’s Elections


As India enters its second week of nationwide polls, the issue of female safety from sexual violence is coming second only to corruption in the minds of voters — and politicians, it seems, aren’t taking them seriously. According to a joint survey by Marketing and Development Research Associates and online campaign forum Avaaz, over 90% of Indians want tackling sexual violence treated as a priority, and 75% are not satisfied with the promises made by politicians on the issue so far.

Ever since the brutal gang rape and death of a 23-year-old in Delhi in December 2012, the country has agonized over the problem of sexual violence. But despite the protest marches and nationwide campaigning, many see a dearth of meaningful content in party manifestos when it comes to tackling the problem.

To help redress this, 70 independent civil-society activists have launched the so-called Womanifesto 2014, which sets out positions…

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