The Corporation will initiate steps to make city more women-friendly, following the submission of a study pointing out lacunae in security.
The study done by the Centre for Gender, Development and Ecology – Samanwayam- was submitted to the Corporation on Saturday. “The study pointed out many security threats for women in the city. A meeting will be convened by the Mayor on Monday to see what the Corporation can do to correct the situation and how we can coordinate with other agencies concerned,” said B. Bhadra, Deputy Mayor, after receiving the report.
Besides representatives of the Corporation, police and other official agencies, those from NGOs like Jagori, which did the study on a national level, will be attending Monday's meeting. Similar studies on women safety was done at Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Thrissur.
Samanwayam did focus group discussions and safety audits at two vulnerable points in the city for preparing the report. It has spotted out areas like Kisan Colony, bus stand, railway station, Karikkamuri, Kaloor-Palarivattom-Edappally, level-crossing and area near Amrita Hospital, Ponekkara and Manassery-Chellanam road as critically unsafe for women. Safety audits were done at the road between KSRTC bus stand and Thoppumpady junction.
“The road connecting KSRTC bus stand and railway station was very unsafe, as we were repeatedly warned against walking along that stretch even during daytime. As for Thoppumpady Junction, five bars and two outlets of beverages corporation were found within one kilometre radius, which also had a convent, school, church and a shopping centre,” said Sister Mariamma Kalathil, director of Samanwayam.
Another major security threat was the presence of beggars, mostly from outside the State, at public spaces like KSRTC bus stand.
“There were no proper toilets that women can use. The one at KSRTC stand had a Bangla-speaking person at the counter and there were many beggars hanging around there,” said Sister Mariamma.
It was also pointed out in the study that even though police have both jeep and two-wheelers patrolling in the area, neither had women police personnel in it. However, instances of harassment of women came down since the launching of Janamaithri community policing.
The study also pointed out increasing tendency among youth to have alcohol and drugs.
“Most of the women interviewed during the study admitted to having been harassed in public transport. It gives out an alarming trend in our sociological pattern. These unhealthy tendencies need to be addressed to and for this, we need concerted efforts from different agencies,” she said.
Most of the respondents who participated in the study had suggestions like having a helpline for victims to get in touch with authorities, speedy system to address the complaint, avoiding circumstances where the complainant has to undergo further trouble, proper social training for boys and girls, increased street lighting and ensuring better condition of roads.
Many women admit to having been harassed in public transport, according to the study.