TIME TO RETHINK URBAN PLANNING FROM A GENDER-BASED PERSPECTIVE

MeToo is considered a new wave of feminism in India. The cities are no longer safe for women, especially at nights and even during active hours. The cases that are being now shed light on, are majorly committed in the broad daylight and known people. All women deserve to live in the cities that are strategically constructed to treat them equally, respond to their needs and reduce violence against them.

Open a newspaper and you will see a bunch of known women calling out harassment charges against giants of Bollywood. Veteran actors, directors, choreographers- you name them and there’s finally a strong woman calling them out for harassment. As per the statistics, more than 53% of women are being harassed, molested and raped in their workplace, homes and streets. India is finally having its own #MeToo movement and these women are calling out all the Harvey Weinstein’s of Bollywood.

The movement has highlighted the violence, sexual harassment and unprotected environment that women face regu- larly. We have policies of “Beti Bachao aur Beti Padhao”, but how are we supposed to educate our daughters, when they are not safe and secured in the streets, workplace or even at their homes. How can we ensure the safety of women in urban areas? Is it possible to imagine a systematic workplace, streets without fear for their safety, free from the risk of being harassed or even eve-teased? In this scenario, what could authorities do to make them more inclusive and liveable for women?

If we think carefully of the whole concept, the blame should be on our flawed sense of protection for women. We have this whole concept of protection and safety. We have politicians, acclaimed and self-appointed moral polices say, “Women should be protected”. The whole belief that it’s a woman who should be protected, puts 50% of the population in the weak spotlight. (Independent) women pay equal taxes, work equally hard to be in the same position and it’s their basic right to be able to walk out on street, anytime, without any reason freely.

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The #MeToo campaign is an example of courage and bravery of these women, who have been facing sexual harassment at workplaces, be it in the organised or the unorganised sector.

It takes a big heap of strength and power to stand against the person and call them out for their actions, no matter if the harassment happened a day ago or 20 years ago.

As the citizens of India, we need to understand that instead of questioning and blaming the victim for the time stamp, age-gap, profession and the severity of the harassment- Let’s just listen to them, address their issue.

The policy makers, protectors of the city (police department) should ensure, that the right segment of protocols- questioning and investigating the cases.

SO, THE QUESTION ARISES
- Why do we victim-blame in the #MeToo situation?
- When will our law and order finally have a compartment, where the women of the society would be able to land their problems directly, instead of being cross-interrogated? WHEN?
- When will we finally have a safe and sound city for women in India?