Thanks to its traditional and conservative set up

On Saturday, 29-year-old G. Usha, a mother of two, explored the temple city for the first time.

“Though I was born and raised in Madurai, I had no idea about the historically significant structures that are in the city. The treasure hunt event gave me a chance to get to know my city better,” said Mrs. Usha, a participant of “The World of Women” event organised by The Hindu to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

Around 75 women took part in the treasure hunt organised in the surroundings of Tirumalai Naicker Palace and Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple by The Hindu along with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

At the same time as Mrs. Usha and others were hunting for treasures in one part of the city, nearly 100 women took out “Heels on Wheels” an all-women two wheeler rally from Teppakulam to V Grand Hotel near Mattuthavani, where exciting cultural events awaited them. The rally was flagged off by Deputy Commissioner of Police Samant Rohan Rajendra.

More than 250 women were part of the cultural events organised by The Hindu. Vovinam, a team from Puducherry, performed martial arts.

Fun games and dance events were conducted, following which prizes were distributed for the teams that won in the games and the best dancers.

Following the cultural events was a panel discussion on “How Safe are Women in Madurai”. Dr. Rohini Sridhar, Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Speciality Hospitals, S. Selvagomathy, Deputy Director of Soco Trust, Janet Sankar, Professor at Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, and Bimla Chandrasekar, Director of EKTA Foundation for Women, were in the panel discussion moderated by Soma Basu, senior journalist of The Hindu Metroplus.

Madurai is safe for women unlike big cities like Delhi, but it can be made safer, said Ms. Bimla. “In a recent survey, college students admitted that there was no fear of extreme violence, but they were being eve-teased in public places. It is a collective responsibility to make people realise that women have the right to use the public place,” she said.

Ms. Janet noted that in a city like Madurai, public did come in defence of women when they were subjected to eve-teasing. Discussing reasons why Madurai was safe for women, Dr. Rohini said that the traditional and conservative set up of Madurai is a positive factor.

Following the panel discussion, Dr. Rohini Sridhar distributed prizes to the winners of the treasure hunt.

“The World of Women” was presented by Pink Fitness Centre for Women and was powered by Anjali Refined Sunflower Oil. The associate sponsors were State Bank of India, Lalitha Jewellery and INTACH. The hospitality partner was V Grand Hotel, the radio partner was Hello FM, fuel partner was Sundar Filling Station (IOC), gift sponsor was Roshan Bags and event manager was Rise Advertising Private Limited.

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