Making Cities Safe for Women

Making Cities Safe for Women.



Seminar on ‘Making Cities Safe for Women: Engaging the Police and Measuring Women’s Safety in Madhya Pradesh’ concludes

Bhopal, July 24: Women doesn’t need any separate queue for her so society should ensure that a woman is safe inside as well as in a public place. Apart from society Public institutions should also equally work to ensure safety of women. Safety should not be only associated with violence but other areas of development of a woman, said by Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research in a press conference held during one day seminar on ‘Making Cities Safe for Women: Engaging the Police and Measuring Women’s Safety in Madhya Pradesh today.’

On this occasion Nandita Baruah, Country Representative (India), The Asia Foundation and Dr Kalpana Vishwanath, CEO and Co-founder, Safety pin also discussed key issues about the women safety in Madhya Pradesh as well as in India.

60% of India’s population in the next three decades will live in the cities. As a result, cities need to prepare for exponential urban growth and expansion and do so in a way that considers gender equality and social inclusion. Women’s safety is a key consideration for urban residents, including in Bhopal. Along these lines, a consultation was jointly hosted in Bhopal by Safetipin and the Centre for Social Research (CSR), in partnership with The Asia Foundation, and with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The consultation focused on initiating dialogues with multiple stakeholders such as the police, city governments, policymakers, civil society, youth, and other citizens on the need for women’s safety and their right to accesses and enjoys public spaces. The key spokespersons present at the consultation were Nandita Baruah, Country Representative (India), The Asia Foundation; Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research; Dr. Kalpana Viswanath,CEO and Co-founder, Safetipin; B. Vijay Datta, Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation; and Anuradha Shankar, Additional Director General of Police.

On this occasion, these organisations also shared details about their two projects- i) engaging the police to discuss issues of gender equality and women’s safety in public spaces and ii)using technology to generate data on women’s safety in Bhopal and Gwalior.

Earlier this year, gender sensitisation workshops were conducted by Centre for Social Research, a prominent women rights organization, at the Bhori Police Training Academy in Bhopal to support the police in their efforts to provide women and girls with more effective and responsive policing particularly in public spaces. To aid this process, CSR has developed a police training manual that can be used to engage with police officials in different cities through state training academies.

Safetipin used a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools to conduct this study in Bhopal and Gwalior. This included conducting safety audits using Safetipin applications which assessed streets and public spaces in the city on a range of parameters that affect safety.  Further surveys with women respondents and Focus group discussions with public transport providers were also conducted. Safety analysis reports were prepared with clear recommendations to improve women’s safety in public transport and public spaces. These reports have listed city-specific areas of intervention in terms of improving lighting, walking and public transport infrastructure.

“Women have played a critical role in our country’s development. Today, an increasing number of women are joining the workforce in major cities and town. There is a dire need to make our cities safer for them,” said Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research.

“The investments made on women’s education and economic empowerment has led to more and more women venturing into hitherto restricted public spaces. Most of these public spaces are not designed to be inclusive of women. They compromise the safety of the women and make them feel disempowered. To ensure that our investments in women’s empowerment are not derailed, it’s essential to make public spaces equitably accessible to women, such that they can enjoy them for both work and leisure,” said Nandita Baruah, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation.

“Women’s safety is a big concern in Indian cities. Our study found that almost 95% of the women surveyed reported feeling unsafe while using public transport and 84% feel unsafe while waiting for public transport. But the reporting of sexual harassment continues to remain low. With more women seeking opportunities for education and work, it is important to have a holistic strategy to create safer streets and public spaces.” Said Dr. Kalpana Viswanath, CEO and Co-founder, Safetipin

The key takeaway from these interventions is that the current police training syllabus in the institutional police training academia would benefit from additional modules on promoting gender equality.The police training workshops conducted by CSR aimed to understand and address gender norms perceptions among police officers and encourage them to actively promote women’s use and access to public spaces.

Centre for Social Research is one of the leading Women’s Institutions working in the field of social action since 1983. It has more than 18 years of experience in providing Gender Sensitisation Training for a safe and productive work environment. CSR was founded by a group of concerned social scientists dedicated to promoting the empowerment of women, deprived castes and groups. The goal of the organisation is to achieve economic self-sufficiency and raise awareness on social, political and legal issues among women of India.

Safetipin is a technology platform that uses apps to collect data in order to make cities and public spaces safer and more inclusive for women. Data collection is done using two apps, My Safetipin app and SafetipinNite app. At the core of the My Safetipin app is the Safety Audit.It consists of a set of 9 parameters that together contribute to the perception of safety. These parameters are – Lighting, Openness, Visibility, People, Security, Walkpath, Public Transport, Gender Diversity, and Feeling.

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Working through our offices in 18 countries and informed by deep local expertise and six decades of experience.