GCC’s gender lab to give women’s safety a boost
Project completes safety audit of public spaces, transport in Tondiarpet in 1st phase
CHENNAI: A safety audit for women was conducted in Tondiarpet as part of the first phase of the safety audit that looked at access roads to schools, colleges, and public areas like markets, availability of toilets, safety in bus stops, etc. While the draft report was ready on the Tondiarpet audit, the final report would be ready soon, following which other areas would be audited.
The audit was performed under the city corporation’s ‘Gender lab’ project, set up as part of the Chennai City Partnership, with assistance from the World Bank. The lab aimed at improving the safety of women in public places and making public transport gender inclusive.
The lab, put together by consultants and policy experts, looked at improving city infrastructure to make it inclusive and safe for women and children. It would work towards spreading awareness among government departments, strengthen policies, build capacities, and assess ground realities of women residents in the city and commuters.
“The initiative will help pinpoint where exactly the money should go to improve women’s safety. For instance, in Tondiarpet, if a woman takes the metro rail, what issues does she face? What issues does she face while travelling in an MTC bus -- these are the kind of things that are looked at,” said a corporation official.
Specific needs of women would be taken into account for infrastructure planning and the initiative would ensure that decisions were not just driven by men, who influenced policy-making but also by women and their needs, the official added. After the project was approved by the State Apex Committee, Rs 4 crore was approved. Now, the city corporation had begun the process to hire three consultants with experience in gender analysis, urban development, and public policy among other areas for the gender lab.
The State Government had accorded administrative sanction for Rs 425.06 crore for the “Safe City Project for Women’s Safety in Public Places in Chennai” under the Nirbhaya Scheme on a cost-sharing basis with the Centre to carry out initiatives that would tackle gender-based violence and harassment of women.