“Create Gender Responsive Urban Transport for the cities in India”
“Better safety in both public and paratransit can be achieved through better design, including well designed waiting areas”
New Delhi, 13th June 2017
“The South Delhi Municipal Corporation is committed to improving women safety on streets and I will make sure the streets should be designed such a way people like to spend time with their family” Ms. Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor of SDMC announced during an event organised by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), SafetyPin and UN Women in collaboration with India International Centre (IIC).
The event was aimed at recognizing the role of transport systems in impacting gender roles by facilitating access to economic and social opportunities and attended by Mr. Sanjay Beniwal-Special Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jagan Shah-Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs among other stakeholders who were invited to identify knowledge gaps in planning, designing, implementing gender-equitable infrastructure systems and monitoring their impact/outcomes.
During the discussion, it was shared that, In India, women’s concerns in urban transport came to the fore primarily through the lens of safety since Jyoti Singh’s death in December 2012. It brought this issue, which had earlier remained confined to feminist and queer movements to the public discourse and galvanized action by civil society and different levels of government to create safer public transportation systems.
The performance of urban transport services places different burdens on women and men, with the costs of poor public transport often being borne by women. For example, women may turn down better employment opportunities further away from home in favor of lower-paid local opportunities when the public transport system is unreliable or unaffordable.
Ms. Shreya Gadepalli, Director-South Asia raised her concerns - “While women constitute around half of India’s population, their labor force participation in urban areas remains low at 15.5%. Ultimately, transportation is the fulcrum that allows women to participate in the workforce, which can create a societal shift to transform the entire world economy, however, our urban transport policies remain gender blind largely.” She went on to speak about changing this scenario to make transit more women-friendly.“After all, what's good for women in a city eventually becomes good for everyone!", she concluded.
Safe, comfortable, convenient and affordable transport can play an important role in not only helping meet women’s practical needs such as access to schools and markets but also in contributing to their strategic empowerment by facilitating access to social and economic opportunities. "While women safety is looked at as a special case, we need to solve this holistically. We need a policy in place", said Ms. Kalpana Viswanath, Director Safetipin. Ms. Heather Allen, who agreed with Ms. Kalpana, told that "Women are no longer a vulnerable group, we form around 50% of the world. Our right to mobility should be recognized."
In keeping with this, ITDP along with Safetipin released a draft policy paper “Women and Urban Transport” at the event. The policy makes recommendations which address women’s concerns in public transport.