In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is seeking a public assessment of the level of women’s safety in Mumbai’s public infrastructure.
Undertaken by the civic body’s Savitiribai Phule Gender Resource Centre (SPGRC) together with women’s NGO Akshara, the pilot survey attempts to reach out to the grassroot level to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the problems women face daily at work, during travel, in education, in health or housing.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu appealed to all municipal councillors at the general body meeting on Thursday, to help carry out the survey with citizens at the local electoral ward-level. The inputs, to be submitted to the BMC by July 15, will be collated and used in the suggestions and objections submitted to the administration for preparing the Development Plan for 2014-2034.
Dr. S J Nagda, dean of medical colleges and in-charge of the SPGRC, in her presentation to the corporators said, “We request you to share your suggestions on how the city can become more women-friendly, and prevent physical and sexual assault on them. Women face these problems on roads, in buses, parks, and even near or at schools. There are several suggestions which may seem trivial at first but are crucial for womens’ safety, such as installing more streetlights, public toilets for women, or stationing more policemen on bridges and flyovers.”
Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara added, “There have been a rising number of cases of violence against women in Mumbai. Out of 166 countries worldwide, India ranks 133 in gender equality. We may not be able to solve the problem but we can prevent future occurrences. The survey is not restricted to women corporators alone, the important question here is how to make Mumbai safe again.”
The Mayor added, “As the first point of contact with citizens, corporators must actively participate in the success of this survey.”