An attempt to ensure safety of women

An attempt to ensure safety of women

Safety of women in public transport has always been a point of concern, especially in the country’s capital. Sexual harassments, eve-teasing and molestations are regular with many women commuters who use public transport on a daily basis.

While fewer problems are reportedly faced by commuters on the Delhi Metro, thanks to former Chief Minister — Shiela Dixit’s initiative of introducing the ‘women only’ coach, the stance of travelling in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses is still unbearable for a lot of women.

In an attempt to guarantee the safety and security of women in public transport, Manas Foundation and UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women recently launched Barabari ki dagar, surakshit safar campaign.

In partnership with DTC, the campaign involves recruiting 2000 home-guards by DTC- who would be deputed as marshalls on all the buses being run by the Corporation.

The key role of these home-guards as marshalls would be to take appropriate action in case of any incident of sexual harassment in the buses. The marshalls would act based on the agreed protocols and guiding principles.

They will be trained to develop their understanding on the issue of gender and sexual harassment to bring a change in their own thinking and will try developing positive attitude towards the issue.

This will be a participative half-day training programme that will impart knowledge about gender sensitisation and will behaviourally equip the home-guards to address the gender-related issues, commonly faced by women commuters.

Meanwhile, according to a study conducted by UN Women Global Safe Cities 2012 in Delhi, 92 per cent of women experienced some form of sexual violence in
public spaces in their lifetime, and 88 per cent experienced some form of visual and
 verbal  sexual harassment in their lifetime.

Speaking of safety in public transport, the Nirbhaya case is one of thousands of cases of brutality and violation of women’s right to a life of freedom and equality.

Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, UN Women Representative, says, “Safe, reliable and affordable transport is the key to women’s participation in the economic and social sectors. Women are mostly affected by the condition of public transport because they are less likely to have access to resources for private transport and are more vulnerable to security risks.”

In a country which is still over powered by a patriarchal society, initiatives such as these are highly called for. However, their implementation and success can only be scrutinised with time.

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