In Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) the mainstream political parties have passed manifestos to declare their position on various issues in J&K. However, very few have declared their position on women rights. Centre for Human Development urges that all political parties must declare their position on women rights to uphold the constitutional values of justice, equality, liberty and dignity in J&K. Women rights are unfortunately often seen as fringe issues during election times. But these crucial issues must be included and discussed around the elections. In J&K female population is 46.88 percent.
Ignoring women issues by political parties implies the callous attitude of the political parties towards larger section of the society. The issues of domestic violence, un-employability of women in J&K, restrictive mobility, gender gap in tourism industry and the like issues were completely ignored by the parties. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was passed in 2010 in J&K. As per the NFHS-2 survey, Jammu and Kashmir is classified into Zone 3 as per the prevalence of Domestic Violence where the prevalence is above 20% to 30 %. Almost all states that fall under Zone 3, the respective state governments have allocated adequate budget for implementation of the Act. However, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still striving for effective implementation of the Act on the ground of lack of funds. Similarly, the unemployment rate for males in J&K is 3.6 percent whereas that of females is 17.1 percent which is far too high when compared to the neighboring states including Punjab (11.7 percent), Haryana (2.8 percent), Delhi (2.8 percent) and HP (2.5 percent). Restricted mobility of women in J&K has gravely impacted on overall development of women. The restricted mobility has effected on the education of women in J&K. There is no helpline for women that deal with protection of women who are harassed/abused. No complaint mechanism for addressing the grievances. Tourism industry has grown considerably in last five years in J&K. Tourism industry makes an enormous contribution to local economies through job creation and sustainable development. However,there are huge gender inequalities in tourism industry in J&K. The policies are less gender sensitive that increases women’s low visibility in the sector. Therefore, all mainstream political parties must include women issues in their vision for next six years.