Safety of Women in cities
Social safety for women plays a critical role in advancement of women and society. Keeping all of the current factors in mind, On 8th of March 2014, Mrs. Smita Thackeray Launched a new wing of her Mukkti Foundation dedicated to Women called the Me Mukkti Marshals.
As an NGO, we have taken up this cause and we’re doing our bit to ensure women’s safety in the society. A study in Mumbai found that at any given point of time, the ratio of women to men in a public space was no more than 28 percent.
Gender-relations analysts have found that women’s use of public space in Cities is “legitimately allowed”. This ‘legitimacy’ of public presence is, moreover, hinged on time: there are only certain hours of the day where it is acceptable for women to be seen in public spaces; say, not late at night.
Placing more empowered women on the streets
We at Mukkti firmly believe that women should have access to all public places at any given time, We believe that women would feel more secure if they would see more women or feel comfortable approaching female security gaurds. Hence As a part of its social initiatives, Mukkti Foundation has introduced semi armed lady marshals placed in the western line trains from evening (9:30) until midnight (12:30) to travel, doubling up as a friendly co-passenger and assisting female late-night commuters as bodyguards in night trains.
Our lady marshals, have completed their primary training of Home Guards. MMM cadets are also trained in martial arts, unarmed combat training and Railway Police training. In case of an emergency e.g. confronting a male intruder, the Marshals will interpose and communicate it to the RPF.
Mukkti marshals was a pilot from 2014-2017. now we are hoping to expand it on a higher platform.
While, good media support and people’s appreciations have come our way, we are now looking to increase the number of marshals, and expand our zones to deploy them from Western to Harbour and Central lines of Mumbai.
We are also seeking for an overall physical, mental and emotional improvement of the marshals and work towards a longer sustainability of this program.
It is an important step in achieving women’s equality that every street corner be safe for women so that no one can stop her from leaving home on account of negative incidents.