Nearly four out of five women (79 per cent) in India have experienced some form of harassment or violence in public, according to a latest survey by ActionAid UK. It also revealed that every three out of four women in the western states of the country, including Rajasthan, have experienced some form of harassment.
Conducted by YouGov, registered with the British Polling Council, the survey was conducted online with 502 women aged 18 and above from major cities across India between May 3 and May 11.
The survey found that 84 per cent of the women who experienced harassment were in the age group of 25 to 35 years, 82 per cent of them were full-time workers and 68 per cent were students.
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Respondents from north Indian states polled the highest percentages for “situations of harassment”, such as on way to/from work (60 per cent), college or school (50 per cent), on public transport (74 per cent), walking the streets (70 per cent) and so on.
Among different age groups, women aged between 18 and 24 reported highest harassment for while leaving house or returning home after dark (64 per cent), walking the streets (74 per cent), in parks/outdoor leisure areas (55 per cent).
As many as 92 per cent women in this age group responded with yes when asked if they have felt at risk of harassment in their city.
Women aged between 25 and 35 years reported highest instances of harassment, compared to other age groups, on public transport (70 per cent); among “forms of harassment”, 44 per cent said they have been wolf-whistled and have had sexual comments passed at them.
As many as 69 per cent women of this age group said that they have been stared at.
While “welcoming” the draft “National Policy for Women 2016” released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, ActionAid’s Rajasthan regional manager Narendra Sharma said that, “There is a need to change the mindset towards women and girls, and certainly, more efforts are required towards ensuring security and safety of women at various places.”