Will a smart city bring about safe transport for women?

Women are harassed on public transport and in public areas

pujab

Puja Bhattacharjee | April 20, 2015


#women   #safety   #transport   #public transport   #Delhi Metro  

I came to office, sat down at my work station, switched on my system and the first news that flashed on my screen was the experience of a woman who was molested by her diving instructor underwater while scuba diving in the Arabian sea. I immediately called up the diving school and was told that the ‘client was harassing them’. Is that the explanation? Will anybody buy that?

Women can’t fall asleep in cars for they will be raped. They cannot travel in the bus because they might be molested. They can still lightly snooze in the  Delhi metro, but only in ladies only coach.

The bitter truth is that they are not safe, anywhere.

Not all harassment occurs to women when their eyes are closed. It happens as an ‘accidental’ nudge/brush/poke. Sometimes you can feel your male co-passenger sniffing down your neck or brushing their private parts on your back in a crowded bus or in the general compartment of the metro.

Mothers, fathers, brothers and every living relative of a woman and even strangers will tell them ‘you have to protect your own dignity’. And to protect yourself you have to take countless precautions.

Kalpana Viswanath, founder of Safetipin, a women’s safety app, said at a recent conference on smart cities that women need the right to space, the right to safety and not restrictions. But of course society’s raison d’etre is ‘men will be men’.

Ranjana Menon of EMBARQ India said that 88% of the women surveyed in Bhopal claimed that they were harassed while using public transport.

To integrate safe access last mile mobility mode options such as walking, cycling and NMT was deemed necessary by the esteemed panellists. Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister, Delhi praised E-rickshaws for providing great last mile connectivity and said that the vehicles are an important aspect for women safety.

Thanks to the e-rickshaws I do not have to take the crowded metro anymore. I walk from my office in Film City, Noida, till sector 16 and hop into one of these green vehicles. I have found my temporary solution.

What about women in rest of India? Are there any solutions?

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