Gurgaon shops brace for 'girlcott' onslaught

Gurgaon shops brace for 'girlcott' onslaught

Power to them

Enough of slogans and silent candlelight marches. Tired of crimes against women and the administration’s attitude, a group of women in Gurgaon will launch a unique protest this weekend — a ‘girlcott’ of malls and stores.

Gurgaon Girlcott, as the urban movement is called, was first discussed on Facebook before it turned into a full-fledged protest. Women will target malls and large stores that see hundreds of footfalls in weekends.

Women have been asked not to visit these places from April 13 to 15. 

They will also stay away from salons and restaurants, and will not use cabs — the basic idea being not to spend any money.

They want to hit the private sector hard. Richa Dubey, who first proposed the protest, said they hope to put pressure on private companies to turn the heat on the local administration to ensure safety for women in Gurgaon.

There are some 1.5 million people in Gurgaon, and the city has been in the news for crimes against women.

 Last month, a 25-year-old woman was abducted and gangraped while she was returning home from work at night.

Then the administration stated that women should not work after 8 pm — a statement they later retracted due to criticism from residents.

Social media

Dubey, a communications specialist, said she posted the idea last month on Facebook.

She had written, “Not work after 8 pm? Fine. Let’s also not hit the malls, pubs, shopping centres, hire cabs or autos, go to gyms or salons. In short, let’s boycott Gurgaon for a few days 

after 8 pm. If enough women in Gurgaon are ‘safe in their homes’ after 8 pm, I would like to see how the economy takes it, especially over a weekend. Make them take responsibility”.

With over 300 women and groups such as Asmita Theatre Group and ‘Let’s Walk Gurgaon’ supporting the protest, Dubey said the onus of women’s safety is not on women alone. 

“How does it matter what she wears or what time she goes out? It’s time the blame game is stopped,” she said.

According to police records, there were 21 cases of molestation in 2010 and the figure rose to 24 in 2011. 

Police say 40 rape cases were reported last year, and there have been 10 such cases this year so far.

Hightened crime

Crime against women in Gurgaon has been blamed on the social dichotomy of the city. Five of the seven accused, who were arrested in the gangrape case, are all unemployed and come from Madina village in Rohtak.
 “The social and economic disparity in Gurgaon is there for anyone to see. Swanky malls, plush offices and pubs are mushrooming everywhere and in close proximity to villages.

There is a feeling of suppressed resentment among unemployed youths, which may lead to violence against the weaker sex,” said Mandira Singh, a psychologist.

“Patriarchal mindset is another contributing factor. It just jars people’s senses that a woman could be independent, work and venture out at odd hours,” said social activist Pragya Sircar.

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