Is your city safe for women?

The patriarchal nature of Indian society, which even though gives respect to women as they are our mothers and sisters, has greatly hampered both the independence as well as the safety of women

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The condition of women in India has always been a matter of grave concern. Since the past several centuries, the women of India were never given equal status and opportunities as compared to that of their male counterparts. The patriarchal nature of Indian society, which even though gives respect to women as they are our mothers and sisters, has greatly hampered both the independence as well as the safety of women.

Anyone man or woman, who says they feel completely safe, would be lying. There is crime everywhere and women are more often targeted than men. There is no city or country in the world where women and girls live free from the fear of violence. Whether walking through city streets, using public transport, going to school, or selling goods in the market, women are subject to the threat of mental and physical harassment, acid attacks and violence. This reality of daily life limits women's freedom to get an education, to work, to participate in politics – or to simply enjoy their own neighborhoods.

Even though it is often true that women and girls in different cities face similar problems, the relative importance of each safety problem will be different for women in different places. Sometimes, this is called “geography of violence” For example, women in New Delhi experiences more harassment as compared to other cities like Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai. In every region around the world, countless other cases occur that do not make global headlines, no city is infact safe.

To avoid these kinds of mishaps, girls and women should be extra cautious about their dressing style in which they could be comfortable in self-defence or at least they could easily escape especially when travelling alone at night or for night outs, should keep pepper or chilli spray with them, and there are many more self-defence techniques which can help you to come out of the situation. Always try to move around in groups. While moving in cabs send the location to the near ones and switch on your GPS. I advise women not to take lifts from strangers, and not make a display of wealth and especially the mobile phone. If you are partying late at night, then stay back and leave in the morning. Also, avoid isolated and remote areas like parking areas, staircase etc. Don't draw attention to yourself at night.

Delhi is still struggling to ensure that women are safe. The biggest question remains, how far have we come in four years (from 2012 Delhi rape case)? Four years are reasonable to demand an answer from the lawmakers. A rigid society will not change overnight. But it is the duty of the government to ensure that proper policies are implemented to bring “Achhe Din” for women in the society. We all unitedly can bring “Achhe din” in any city. Every time we stay silent when we are harassed or when we see someone else harassed, we are guilty of perpetuating harassment. While it is difficult to respond in certain situations, we must not miss an opportunity when it persists itself. Never hesitate to lodge a complaint or First Information Report (FIR) with police.  In case you want support, approach any NGO working on women's rights to assist you in lodging complaint (Jagori Helpline 26692700 / 8800996640).

We all have the same right in the city - to live, to work, to learn, to be mobile, and to blossom. 

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