Can Delhi be made safer for its women?


Shivani Chaturvedi | July 9, 2010

Delhi's now officially unsafe for women - 'officially' here meaning that the government acknowledges it. Sexual harassment is now a daily feature in police books.

According to a survey conducted by the department of women and child development (WCD) of the state government, around 43 percent of all sexual offences against women happens on the roads while 31 percent happens on public transport. The report says that most women see public transport, especially buses, as being fraught with potential harassment. The Metro, which used to be  relatively safer mode of transport, is now the scene of many incidents of harassment.

While the WCD minister Kiran Walia talked of the pressing need to have a legal framework to protect women in public spaces and said that the survey was the first step at understanding the issue, little has been done to bring attitudinal changes in people.

With a chronic public apathy (54 percent of the female respondents said that they would not interfere if they saw a woman being harassed while 69 percent of the males said they would do the same), lack of gender-sensitive infrastructure and absence of a punitive system to deter such crimes, the government would find it a Herculean task to ensure safety for the women.

Delhi might have acknowledged the problem, but can it be made safer for its women?



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