Women's groups in the district have never taken to the streets on behalf of other women, Director of Prajna Counselling Centre Hilda Rayappan said here on Thursday.

Speaking during a programme organised by the city police to mark International Women's Day, Ms. Rayappan said: “If we have never gone to the streets on behalf of other women, we have achieved very little.” Ms. Rayappan, who has worked for women and children in distress for nearly 25 years, said that at the national and international level there was seriousness about the safety and well-being of children, but not about issues affecting women. “This seriousness needs to be developed,” she said.

Recalling the closure of the Sweekara Kendra run by the Department of Women and Child Development through Prajna, Ms. Rayappan said: “I cried a lot that day. It was a tragic day for the district.” She said that the kendra was equipped with staff and infrastructure that enabled them to handle women with psychological problems.

Now, the centre runs the Swadhara Kendra, which simply does not have the capacity to handle women who could become unruly or violent, Ms. Rayappan said.

She urged the Commissioner of Police Seemanth Kumar Singh to call a meeting of the police, non-governmental organisations, women's groups, and the Department of Women and Child Development to coordinate the efforts on helping women in distress.

Lecturer at School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya Vinutha said that women often worked in the house as well as outside, but only the “office work” was recognised. The work women did at home was neither recognised nor respected.

Some of the women personnel requested the Police Commissioner to sanction them leave so that they could spend more time with their children and families, Mr. Singh said that all police personnel, irrespective of their sex, faced the same problem. “If you (women) are not getting leave when they (men) are getting it, then we can take action,” Mr. Singh added.

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