A brand-new grain subsidy ration card that requires women be listed as head of the household is one boon. One beleaguered woman said the food security it brings her could be a means of escaping an abusive husband.
BANGALORE, India (WOMENSENEWS)-- "Why don't they have general elections every year, even every six months ?"
That's Mohana being cheeky as she listens to the day's news items being read out to her by a member of a nongovernmental organization in Bangalore, in south India.
The women sitting with her, all slum dwellers and mostly illiterate--whose surnames represent caste, which is why they aren't used here--laugh, because she has a point.
With general elections set for early 2014, just a few months away, politicians seem to be scurrying to announce measures for empowering women. Meanwhile, a bill for reserving one-third of seats in parliament for women has been languishing since 1996, tabled by successive governments.
But this year, politicians know that the country's female voters-- estimates of their numbers vary between 300 million and 350 million as the voting rolls keep getting updated-- could mean the difference between winning and losing.