An Ordeal for Women: on the Delhi Metro

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Unsafe for women?
|Improvements in infrastructure should make cities safer for women. Delhi is the exception to the rule… |

Photo: V.V. Krishnan 
An ordeal for women:On the Delhi Metro.
I f you visit Delhi after a spell away from it, there are several things that strike you. First, the number of buses – green buses running at regular intervals. Then, the bus stops. Well-lit, with bus numbers clearly written on them. Then, the pavements, at least in South Delhi, that have suddenly become walkable. And of course, the Metro, which even people who never considered using public transport are now actually using. A city with a good public transport system is considered not just a more liveable city, and greener city, but also a safer city, especially for women. So has the infrastructure of Delhi changed the culture of the city so that women feel safe? Not if you listen to what a former Miss India and Bollywood actor Gul Panag has to say. After participating in the Delhi Half Marathon on November 21, here is what she told the media: “Delhi men won't let go of any opportunity to eve-tease or behave indecently. The people's mindset has not changed despite hosting a mega event like Commonwealth Games in October and it is definitely not an ideal place for women.” After complaining about men trying to grope her as she ran the Half Marathon, Ms. Panag went on to say, “I had thought that Delhi would have undergone a change in its attitude towards women in the seven years that I have been away but it continues to be unsafe. I am not sure if they knew who I was but the fact that they misbehaved shows the attitude of the men in the city which needs to change drastically.” Ms. Panag's statement brings out several important issues. First, that improvements in infrastructure, an important first step in making cities safer and better, are not enough. Cultural and attitudinal changes have to follow, a far more difficult challenge....
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