THE COUNTRY’S first project of having women parking attendants in the ‘safest city’ appears to have run into trouble. More than half the total of 347 women employees have quit. And the majority of those who have left gave just one reason — they feel unsafe and insecure because of ‘eve teasing’, bad behaviour, sexist and lewd remarks passed by male visitors at the parking lots.
Of the 347 women employees, as many as 217 women attendants left the job in the last two months and at present, there are only 130 working with the Arya Toll Infra Limited, the company managing the parking lots in the city. Chandigarh is the first city in the country where the Municipal Corporation in collaboration with the company decided to have women to manage parking lots. The project began on June 19 this year.
The findings of the survey conducted by the women’s cell of the Arya Toll company found that 47 percent, that is 102 out of 217 women attendants who left, blamed bad behaviour, eve teasing, “women-centric” and lewd comments passed by male visitors as the reasons for leaving their job. Of these, 39 women attendants said that the working hours were not suiting them while 30 women attendants left because they were not satisfied with the complaint resolving mechanism and the remaining 46 had family issues.
Analysing the kind of internal complaints initially received by these women who resigned, project coordinator Sandeep Bhora said, “There were women attendants who had complaints like some male visitors would intentionally touch their hands while taking the parking slips or handing out the money, or some regular visitors on two-wheelers would come really close to the attendant’s face and ask for the parking slips. The authorities here failed to provide a safe environment for these women attendants.”
In the last three weeks, there have been 197 complaints by women attendants, out of which 17 were serious complaints wherein the male visitors tried to touch the women attendants while the remaining were again about bad behaviour by male visitors, most of them who wanted to park without paying the parking fee. Six complaints were those wherein the same male visitor would ‘eve tease’ the same woman attendant every day. All these incidents were reported from the parking lots of Sector 22-B, Sector 17 Sahib Singh front, Sector 17 CMC, Sector 35-B and Sector 8-C.
The company officials said that the women attendants faced harassment to such an extent that they had proposed through their supervisors, also women, if they could work with their faces completely covered, but the company did not find this acceptable.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Mayor Asha Jaswal said that this situation in the city was “not good”. “I will be speaking to the police department regarding this scenario. This way, women will think that the environment is not conducive to work here and sit back at home. These men committing such acts should know that even they have women in their house and should respect these women. If this continues, our city’s concept of women managing parking lots won’t work well.”