(This blog post is on “What I expect from the city for women in Bangalore” a contest by Indiblogger and national newspaper ‘Times of India’.)
EXPECTATIONS FROM A CITY!
Food, shelter and a decent livelihood, these are the basic expectations a migrant or a resident has from a city. When it comes to a man this looks sufficient and he is often content with these three requirements fulfilled. But for a woman her needs don’t stop here.
Today she has stepped out of her home to learn and earn. She has added to her qualifications, picked up decent livelihoods and in many cases are the sole bread and butter of their families. Along with this new avatar comes the requirement of working at odd hours, commuting in public transports, and sometimes staying away from homes for longer durations. Working shoulder to shoulder with men she has proven to be his equal. But alas! A woman is finally just a woman in spite of being armed with many qualifications and/or with symbols of marital status!
In this scenario, when you ask a woman what she wants from this city of Bangalore one word that rings out loud is SAFETY. “Give me the same safe feeling in this city just as much as I would feel in my home”, she can be heard saying. Women expect the city to provide safety and security to them. The feeling of safety can be brought in several ways, mentioning a few are:
- Make it compulsory for every organization to offer training to its women employees on those basic kicks and steps of martial art that she can use in times of attack.
- Empower police to conduct random alcohol tests on men moving around in group of three or more after 7PM. same like they do on drivers. They should be able to do these checks in public transports.
- There should be a data bank having helpline numbers of not just the local police station, but also of institutes running martial art classes and local auto/taxi stands. This will be helpful to seek help in case of breakdown of vehicles and a woman is left stranded all alone.
Issues other than safety
The second issue I would like bring up is SANITATION. The public sauchalayas (toilets) are in a pathetic state. Does this come under the jurisdiction of health and sanitation department? Are they supposed to conduct periodic check whether they are functional? I mean I don’t know who is responsible for these places. The graffiti in some of these are evidences of maniacs roaming around. Does any official ever take a feedback on how these are functioning? Women immigrants, particularly the construction workers and daily wage earners are the most suffering lot due to lack of such facilities. A city like Bangalore should be able to cater to their basic needs too. CCTV cameras should be installed near public places.
My third and final point is on requirement of quality CRECHES in city. Wives follow their husband to this city of IT firms, they come with dreams of starting their careers fresh. As long as they don’t conceive all seems well but with a child there comes the requirement of leaving him/her in safe caring hands. One has to depend on auto rickshaw drivers whose credentials are given by a parent whom he had previously given his services. Women auto/taxi drivers seem to be a good solution. There is an urgent need of creches maintaining good standards While a handful of companies offer this kind of facility, there are many times that number who don’t. Often women are forced to give up their careers. This problem is common to all the levels of society. Sometime back I remember reading an incident where a domestic maid locked up her three children in her house and left for work. An accidental fire took place, since they were locked from outside they had no means to escape. All three were found dead. A tragedy like this in a city like Bangalore is unpardonable!
Expectations from fellow citizens
These are just few of my observations and suggestions for making Bangalore a better place for women.While I have faith in my government to bring about positive changes I have expectations from my fellow citizens of Bangalore. Let us not shy away or look away in another direction when confronted with social evils. We have to be more alert to notice those small signals from people in distress. Women should portray a confident look, this generally discourages stalkers. If you have the job that requires frequent traveling, spend some time to learn basic self defense tactics, keep yourself physically fit and practice the kicks. Franklin Joseph, an expert on self-defense techniques gave us the mantra on this: Have that Jhansi Ki Rani look on your face, remember your personality is your best armour! Men under influence of alcohol are the worst, if you feel you are in an unavoidable situation with them keep your near and dear ones informed. The problem of safety and security has risen due to people among us therefore the solution too rests on us!
Women expect the city to cater to their rising expectations!