Working women face hassles while commuting these days. With education and increased job opportunities, more and more women are defying social norms and stepping out of their homes. Therefore with increase in mobility, women visibility has also increased in public places. Women are more financially independent as they work for various sectors. It has put in an enthusiasm and fervour to be independent in many of them. But this zeal gets a repeated backlash as crimes against women are increasing.
To figure out the problems women face while commuting daily to their offices, we did an extensive survey on specifically IT professionals and other white collar women. The survey enlisted questions related to safety and measures which their respective organisations are supposed to take to ensure it. Most of them turned out to be negligent regarding company security.
They do not know whose responsibility it will be if there happens to occur a mishap. Whether it is the company or the travel agency to whomsoever the contract is entrusted to. Majority of them are not even aware that the organisation they work for ought to provide them insurance. Frequently reported cases of rape and molestation have created hysteria among the masses and women especially have started taking extra precautions while commuting. Almost all of them take safety precautions such as GPS or emergency numbers.
The prime time of the day when maximum number of harassments/ eve teasing incidences occur is evening. Roadside incidents are high on the charts. After TCS incident in February where a decomposed body of a woman was found raised alarms for everyone, the relatively ‘safe’ metropolitan Chennai is not as safe as considered . The crime rate against women might be low in comparison to others cities, but it isn’t nil.
In the survey, 70% of the women were eve teased but none of them ever registered any sort of complain. In spite of all the measures the state is taking to ensure safety, hardly women seek help of police. Instead they prefer avoiding a particular location or retaliating verbally. This might be a reason for increase in number of sexual assault rates in the country. It is not considered appropriate to complain such issues owning largely to our societal prejudices where people including policemen end up questioning the victim and her character.
Moreover, Indian courts’ prolonged case histories are quite discouraging for women to seek legal course. Majority of women who use public transport to commute are harassed. The roadside incidences are high in number as usually they are not dropped on the doorsteps of their houses.
As cited in Times of India, a human resource wing officer of an automobile manufacturing unit said, “According to a verbal order issued by the Chennai police, every company should send an armed security guard in cabs going to drop a woman or women”.
It is the responsibility of every organization to ensure that their employees reach office and back to their homes safely. And it is only through awareness that women employees can ascertain their rights.