Women empowerment and equality have started making their presence felt in India. We see political parties speaking volumes about women empowerment and recently, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, announced free metro and bus rides for women commuters in the Capital. This recent proposal has given air to many disagreements and questions. Some believe the idea does not promote equality, while others have raised questions over its feasibility. Some consider it ‘special treatment’.
All of us have come across a host of narratives around the issue. In my opinion, this idea (since it’s yet to be formalized), can provide women with an opportunity to step out of their houses. Here, I happen to be talking about women who come from small towns and underprivileged sections of society.
According to reports, the percentage of working women in Delhi stands at 11.7%. Therefore, it goes without saying that there are bound to be financial constraints ( a large number of women are homemakers)
Moving on, working women are hesitant to undertake long-distance journeys. Girls studying in colleges and universities are also required to travel over long distances daily. Generally, women and girls do not opt for P.G. accommodation owing to security concerns.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hiked the fares in 2017. Consequently, the number of commuters decreased considerably. According to me, the Metro rapid transit happens to be the safest mode of transport for women commuters. CCTV surveillance makes it easier for everybody to keep track of things. You are likely to find a place to sit if you’re lucky enough. Travelling in a metro is way more convenient than hiring a personal cab at night. What more does a person want?
Those criticizing this move on the grounds of equality fail to recognize the plight of the women coming from underprivileged backgrounds. Not everybody is privileged enough to travel in a cab on a daily basis. Women are a long way away from achieving what men have achieved. Equality, in all fairness, is a deceptive term. Providing women with free metro rides won’t contribute to inequality. In fact, it will help make life easier for them. Before questioning the proposed idea, we should question the privileges given to men. This idea is a much-deserved initiative undertaken by the Delhi government and is expected to help women commuters immensely.