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92pc working women feel unsafe after sundown

Posted on Dec 18, 10:05PM | IBNS

Around 92pc of working women feel insecure, especially during night in all major hubs of economic activities across the country especially in key segments such as BPO/ITeS, hospitality, Civil Aviation, Nursing homes, garment and consistently demand for suitable safety norms, according to the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF).

The assessment based on the feedback received from working and non-working women further reveals that 92pc females working population with medium and small scale firms are extremely worried and concerned as regards to their outside moments and nearly 56pc such workforce in medium sector is quite apprehensive about their safety and security, particularly after the dark is set in.

The same fear of security lapses is felt by about 36pc working women engaged in large scale establishments.

ASSOCHAM has conducted a random survey of women in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Pune, Dehradun etc. 100pc women respondents very strongly felt that problem of insecurity faced by women is bigger than any other problem or challenge faced by India.

Releasing the assessment, ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat said that in sector specific cases BPO's and ITeS, travel and tourism, nursing homes women employees are the most vulnerable and prone to both physical and non-physical attacks especially after their duty hours over.

As a result of this, the sectors female employees remain extremely security concern as this anxiety is filled with them in high degrees. In nursing homes including hospitals, 83pc women employees continue to suffer from in-sense of insecurity, he said.

Delhi topped the list with 92pc of women respondents complaining that they feel unsafe. 85pc of women in Bangalore, 82pc in Kolkata, 18 pc in Hyderabad have reported feeling unsafe while working in day and night shifts.

They expect their employers to make the security arrangements. BPO/ITeS is not the only sector with post-sunset shifts. Women nurses have been doing night rounds for ages. Airlines, hotels and service industries have large contingents of 24/7 workers of both genders.

The media also have late night shifts, said Rawat.

The stats give a more shocking picture of the situation in Delhi city. Once every 40 minutes, a woman is kidnapped and raped. There's sexual harassment to be faced by a woman on the city's streets once every hour and molestation happens every 25 minutes, reveals the ASSOCHAM paper.

The survey further highlights that two in every three women in the national capital have faced some form of sexual harassment in the last year two years. Delhi women face continuous and different forms of sexual harassment in crowded and secluded places, said Rawat.

Women in the Delhi-NCR feel unsafe in many public spaces and at all times of the day and night. Public transport, buses and roadsides are reported as spaces where women and girls face high levels of sexual harassment, mentioned the survey.

Majority of women who were surveyed said that buses were the most unsafe form of transport. Many said the Metro system, which used to be safer earlier, is now equally crowded and unsafe. The survey reveals the most common forms of harassment are "verbal (passing lewd comments), visual (staring and leering) and physical (touching or groping or leaning over)", said the survey.

Poor infrastructure including absent street lights, unusable pavements and a lack of public toilets is one of the main reasons behind the lack of women's safety, said the ASSOCHAM survey.

Around 92pc of women respondents very strongly feel that any crime against women should be a non-bailable offense with severe punishment in fast track courts. In long term solution, majority suggested curbing liquor consumption, restraint on obscenity in media (including movies/songs/ads) and continuous positive ad campaign for women safety.

Only 62pc of the respondents perceived better pay package to be a major attraction for working nightshifts. The rest responded that there is no other choice; job demands this.

Demand by nature of job was the major reason for working in night shifts among all the cities surveyed e.g. it is 98pc in Bangalore and Pune, 99pc in Ludhiana, 97pc in Mumbai, 94pc in Delhi, 85pc in Bangalore, 88pc in Hyderabad and 84pc in Chennai.

Social problems are more in Ludhiana (23pc ), Kolkata (19pc ), Delhi (15pc ), and Pune (14pc ). It is less in Mumbai (12pc ) and Hyderabad (8pc ).

ASSOCHAM has already suggested that governments should make it mandatory to Install Global Positioning System (GPS) in cabs and in public transport.

Due to non equipment of GPS in cabs, increasing crime rates surface and re- surface in BPO/ITeS, hospitality, Civil Aviation, Nursing homes, garments that engage women's, particularly in night shifts. Such security risks could be minimized by making it install GPS in all vehicles.

Safety norms suggested by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation include:

a highly effective and responsive GPS System in place

Self defense training to the women staff

Organization with odd hour working need to take extra precaution,

to provide safety and security to their employees, especially females, tiny security devices to workforce to preempt threats on them

Verification of Cab Driver be made by the police.

Characteristics that contribute to women feeling 'unsafe or uncomfortable'

Design Characteristics Night Day

Dark, poor lighting 63pc 10pc
Isolated 39pc 21pc
Not visible to others 35pc 14pc
No access to help 60pc 14pc
Inadequate security 12pc 6pc
Trees, bushes 8pc 4pc

Percentage of women who report feeling afraid when asked

Type of violence Percentage

Physical attack 89pc
Robbery 79pc
Rape 92pc
Sexual Assault 65pc
Harassment 65pc