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Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 12 : 49 PM [IST]

CALL OUT THE MISCHIEF

The recent perception survey labelling India as the world’s most unsafe country for women has to be taken up neither in a self flagellation mode nor with any misplaced sense of egotism.
While women safety is a concern in any country, the issue has gathered a keener edge in India with the perceived problematic proportions. The travel industry in India is seized of the matter and is perhaps most actively taking steps to make travel safe in its own way. It is time now to address this issue squarely.

Policing, legislation and women empowerment are being stepped up at various levels. Travel organisations and hospitality institutions are ensuring proactive measures for the safety of women travellers. It is equally important that faulty commentary has to be met with as much force by the industry to clear the air and prevent needless scare mongering. This is imperative after the recently published so called scientific survey in a report by Thomson Reuters that would have the world believe that India is the world’s most dangerous country for women.

This survey, conducted with opinions of 500 plus individuals, claims to have the sanctity of a world leading media background. To label a country as the world’s most unsafe place for women is puerile and uninformed at best if there are no apparent reasons to warrant bias and even mischief.

It is important to highlight the fact that India is in the cusp of a tectonic change. Women are asserting themselves, society is evolving and if there is greater awareness and response to injustices, it is a sign of positivity, not despondency. The survey mentioned earlier is unfair to both India and women in countries where they are fighting for the bare minimum right to survive.

And what exactly are the details of the survey? 759 ‘experts’ in women’s issues studied the survey, of which came 548 responded with their ‘perceptions’. A deeper, more detailed and far more sensitive study is required for an issue like this and not sweeping generalisations on ‘perceptions’ based on sundry newspaper reports.

The government data used to prove increased attacks on women can also be read as increased vigilance and reporting. India has come to the point where women are reclaiming the right to venture out on their own, alone, with friends at night, and travel on their own as well.

However, there is a narrative even within the Indian media, especially with ultra left leanings that loves to berate the country and is eager to validate whatever can be used as a stick to beat it with. One such journo let the cat out of the bag with a statement in her column saying ‘Reuters is a global organisation, so I personally believe them more than India’s Central Government’.

While politics, internal leveraging and put-the-other-down can be understood for petty politics, there is no reason for the travel industry to sit on its haunches while such biased reports do the rounds. The travel industry is one forward looking industry that evolves fast. It’s important to publicise the positives, inform about the laws and proclaim the measures for safety. Taking care of women’s safety is the industry’s mainstay. It’s time to put facts on the table, get out of the self flagellation mode and stand up for women’s safety.

Anurag Yadav
Industry Expert
The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.
 
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