Delhi road accident once again shows how public spaces are hostile to women

Source: The post is based on the article “Delhi road accident once again shows how public spaces are hostile to women” published in The Indian Express on 5th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS-2/3 – Women Issues/Infrastructure

Relevance: concerns associated with women’s safety and road accident

News: The death of a girl in Delhi has highlighted the concerns over women safety and increasing road accidents.

What are the concerns with road safety in India?

According to NCRB data from 2021, driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol contributed to 1.9 percent of deaths from accidents. Around 90 percent of deaths on the road were due to speeding, overtaking, and dangerous driving.

According to the World Bank’s data from 2019, India ranked first among the top 20 countries for road accidents.

What are the concerns with women?

Women fear sexual assaults in public places. According to researchers from the UN and ICRW confirms that women face multiple forms of violence and sexual harassment in cities.

This affects women’s choices and abilities to access opportunities which ultimately leads to low workforce participation by women.

Further, women going to work fear violence and it further increases due to the lack of women focused public transport.

Transport planning generally focuses on male travel patterns during peak hours of work. However, the World Bank’s report on women’s mobility in India has shown that women’s travel patterns can often be different due to their caregiving roles.

The report provides that 84 percent of women’s trips were by public transport, and 45.4 percent of women tend to walk to work compared to 27.4 percent of men.

This difference in travel pattern by women and lack of proper women’s safety mechanism increases chances of violence and safety concerns.

What can be the course of action?

India has the highest rate of fatality in road accidents in the world and a high rate of violence against women in public places.

Therefore, it should a) design streets for safe pedestrian movement, b) streets should be well lit with good pavements and the presence of street vendors, shops, and cafes with surveillance are necessary for women to feel safe, c) infrastructure should be provided for cycling and public transport should be made accessible and affordable.

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