GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Source: Indian Express
Context: World Bank launched a “Toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility and Public Spaces in India” with the aim of suggesting ways to make public transport in Indian cities more inclusive of women’s travelling requirements.
WHY URBAN PUBLIC SPACES AND MOBILITY SERVICES SHOULD BE VIEWED THROUGH A GENDER LENS?
- Women are amongst the biggest users of public transport across Indian cities.
- Lack of safety deters women from stepping out; creating a vicious cycle that lowers their presence in public spaces.
- Women face barriers in using public transport owing to gender-blind design elements during access and egress, waiting at stops and transfers, boarding and alighting, and inside the vehicle.
- Barriers to women’s mobility actively restrict their choices around education and employment.
- Deep-rooted gender-based social norms actively restrict women’s movement outside their homes.
- Women bear a disproportionate burden of unpaid care work in India necessitating public transport solutions for the mobility of care
- Women’s ‘time poverty’ constrains time available for commuting.
The World Bank suggests a four-pillared approach to help address prevailing issues in urban transport for women.
Recommendations given in the new toolkit:
- Integrating gender elements when developing comprehensive mobility plans at the city level.
- Developing Gender Action Plans as an integral part of plans at the city level.
- Incentive-based policies may be brought in by state governments to enable women’s workforce participation in the mobility sector
- Establish a Gender Advisory Committee to monitor GAP implementation.
- Strengthen grievance redressal cells to fast-track sexual harassment complaints by commuters and users of public spaces, ensuring representation of women and persons of minority genders.
- Establish one-stop centres at public transport facilities.
- Implementing agencies can consider digitizing ticketing systems and adopting a common mobility card through an integrated mobility system.
Is Access to Transport Slowing Participation of Women in India’s Workforce?
Q. The Delhi government’s decision to make public transport free for women has opened a debate about the ways in which women access to transport and the barriers they face, in such a context analyze how reforms in public transport affect women. (250 words)