Women’s safety is not merely a fundamental human right but is an essential aspect of advancing gender equality and guaranteeing women’s full participation in society.
Today, women’s safety is a vital concern. Women are frequently subjected to different sorts of violence, harassment, and discrimination due to their gender, which can harm their physical and emotional health.
Coming to Mumbai, the Maharashtra Administration declared Mumbai “the safest city in the world” in defending its governance and police officers against opposition assaults. But is Mumbai a safe city for women?
Like any other metropolis, Mumbai has a unique set of safety problems for women. In Bombay, there have been reports of sexual harassment and assault against women, particularly in crowded public places like train stations, buses, and marketplaces. Nonetheless, compared to other Indian cities, Mumbai is comparatively safe, and numerous initiatives have been implemented to improve women’s safety.
Although Mumbai received 34% of the votes, Ahmedabad and Bangalore tied for a distant second place with 12% apiece. Among Indian states and union territories, over 60% of respondents believed Delhi NCR was the most dangerous. Bihar came in second (18%), followed by Uttar Pradesh (8%).
Maharashtra was seen as the safest state by 27% of women, followed by Gujarat (15%) and Karnataka (10%).
4 Factors Supporting Women’s Safety in Mumbai
1: Gender-Sensitive Policies And Practices
Mumbai has developed several gender-sensitive laws and practices to enhance women’s safety and rights. Among these policies and procedures are:
- Women’s Help Desks: To offer a secure environment for women to report cases of assault or harassment, the Mumbai police have established Women’s Help Desks in police stations around the city.
- Safety applications for women: The Mumbai Police Department has introduced safety apps such as the ‘Himmat’ app, which allows women to send an SOS signal to the police during an emergency.
- Women’s entrepreneurship programs: Various programs in Mumbai encourage women’s entrepreneurship by offering training, coaching, and money to assist women in starting and growing their enterprises.
- Women’s political representation: There has been a rise in women’s political representation in Mumbai, with some women holding prominent posts in the municipal administration.
2: Secure Public Spaces
Public locations that are safe and well-lit, such as parks, streets, and train stations, can help women feel secure and confident in their everyday activities. Some of these locations are:
- Marine Drive: A well-lit and safe public place visited by both visitors and locals, Marine Drive is a famous promenade along the Arabian Sea.
- Gateway of India: Another renowned tourist site, the Gateway of India, is a well-kept and protected public space with stunning views of the Arabian Sea.
- Juhu Beach: A renowned Mumbai beach, Juhu Beach is well-lit and police-patrolled, making it a safe area to visit, especially during the day.
- Cultural and historical places: Mumbai offers various cultural and heritage sites that are safe and secure public areas, such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal and the Elephanta Caves.
- Nehru Planetarium: A popular astronomy destination, the Nehru Planetarium provides a safe and secure public area with various interactive displays and programs.
3: Community Engagement
These are some instances of Mumbai women’s community involvement:
- Majlis: Majlis is a Mumbai-based women’s group that promotes women’s rights and provides legal help to women. The group offers counselling and assistance to women who have experienced abuse or prejudice, as well as legal literacy training and workshops on women’s rights.
- Stree Mukti Sanghatana: Stree Mukti Sanghatana is a Mumbai-based women’s group dedicated to advancing women’s rights, gender equality, and social justice. The group runs awareness campaigns, workshops, and training programs on topics like violence against women, women’s health, and economic empowerment for women.
- Women-only gatherings: Women-only events and festivals, such as the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and the Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival, establish a safe and inclusive atmosphere for women to participate in cultural and social activities.
4: Strong Legal Framework
Mumbai has a solid legislative framework for women’s safety, including various laws and regulations to prevent and respond to violence against women. Some of the most important rules and regulations concerning women’s safety in Mumbai are as follows:
- The Indian Criminal Code (IPC): Many provisions in the IPC address crimes against women, such as rape, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse. These rules call for severe sanctions and punishments for those committing such acts.
- 2005 Act to Protect Women from Domestic Violence: This legislation offers legal protection to women who have been victims of domestic abuse, as well as a variety of reliefs such as protection orders, residency orders, and monetary relief.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act of 2013: This statute attempts to prevent and resolve sexual harassment of women at work and requires all businesses to create an internal complaints commission to handle sexual harassment allegations.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961: Outlaws the gift or receiving of dowry and punishes individuals who break the law.
4 Factors Affecting Women’s Safety in Mumbai
1: Crowded Public Transportation
- Women-only compartments: Most of Mumbai’s local trains and metro trains include women-only compartments intended solely for female passengers. It makes ladies feel more comfortable and safe while riding on packed trains.
- Increased police presence: To guarantee that ladies are secure while commuting, the Mumbai Police have enhanced their presence at train terminals and trains. To dissuade offenders of sexual harassment and assault, police patrols and plainclothes personnel have been deployed.
- CCTV Cameras: Cameras have been deployed at various train stations and buses to monitor passenger movement and prevent sexual harassment and assault.
- Emergency Helplines: Numerous hotlines have been established for women to report cases of sexual harassment and assault on public transit. Women can also report similar incidents using smartphone applications such as GRP Sahyatri.
2: Lack Of Gender Sensitivity
- Police and Law Enforcement: Mumbai’s police and law enforcement organisations are frequently chastised for their lack of gender awareness. Women who claim sexual harassment or assault may face scepticism or inappropriate questioning, dissuading them from reporting such instances. T
- Workplace policies: Several workplaces in Mumbai lack effective sexual harassment policies and protocols. Women who preport such occurrences may suffer reprisal or further victimisation, creating a hostile work environment.
- Lack of Public Awareness: In Mumbai, there is a general lack of understanding regarding concerns concerning women’s safety. It can lead to victim-blaming attitudes and a culture of silence surrounding sexual harassment and assault cases.
3: Inadequate Infrastructure
Public infrastructure is critical for the safety and well-being of women in Mumbai since it affects their capacity to travel freely and securely across the city.
- One of the most severe challenges is a lack of safe and dependable public transit. Women frequently utilise public transit to work or school, but a lack of suitable buses or trains, particularly during rush hour, can create dangerous scenarios. Crowded buses and trains can lead to groping and harassment, a prevalent issue for women in Mumbai.
- Furthermore, lacking well-lit, well-maintained roadways and sidewalks can lead to dangerous circumstances. Women may find it challenging to navigate the city safely due to poorly maintained roads and walkways.
4: Cultural Norms And Attitudes
- Male dominance and patriarchy: Patriarchal ideals and beliefs frequently place males in power and control over women, leading to discrimination, violence, and harassment. Women’s movement and liberty in Mumbai may be limited by conventional gender roles and expectations, making it harder for them to obtain services or defend themselves from abuse.
- Victim blaming and stigma: Women harassed or abused may receive stigma and blame rather than support and empathy.
- Gender preconceptions: Gender stereotypes might also make women in Mumbai uncomfortable. Women, for example, may be viewed as weak, docile, or emotional, leading to discrimination and harassment.
So, is Mumbai a safe city? There is no specific and correct answer to this question. Thus, addressing women’s safety in Mumbai necessitates a multifaceted strategy addressing these underlying causes while creating a safe and supportive environment for women.
Measures such as enhancing public infrastructure, reinforcing laws and policies, promoting gender sensitivity and understanding, and offering assistance and resources to victims of violence can all fall under this category.
Is Mumbai a safe space for women?
Mumbai is the most secure location for working women. Regarding job security for women, the state has surpassed most others, including the national capital.
Is Mumbai safe at night?
Mumbai has maintained its status as a people’s city, especially at night.
Which is the safest area in Mumbai?
Lower Parel/Parel is the safest area in Mumbai.
Is Mumbai safer than Delhi?
According to the reports, Mumbai is safer than Delhi for women.