The results of the poll have outraged many, given India fared worse than nations like Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and even Pakistan, but for others, it was also a sign that things hadn’t improved for women.
So, the ‘naming and shaming game’ continues. This time, it’s our India facing the flak for being the world’s most unsafe country for women. If the recent poll of 548 people conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26th March-May 4th comprising Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific, were to be believed, India is an unsafe nation for women.
The respondents included aid professionals, academicians, healthcare staff, non-government organisation workers, policy-makers, development specialists and social commentators. This means 548 random people across the world decided to brand our nation unsafe and we, as citizens chose to go bananas, blaming the government for bringing such disgrace to our pious mother India.
The National Commission for Women expresses its displeasure
Even the National Commission for Women (NCW) rejected the survey report, claiming that the sample size was small and could not be representative of the whole country.
“The Commission rejects the survey in question. For a nation as big as India, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, the sample size of the survey is not representative of the country as a whole,” said the National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma in her statement.
“Women are very aware in India of issues and there is no way that we could be ranked number one in such a survey. The countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public,” Sharma said, without naming any specific country.
How India fares against the others
Talking of gender equality, in Iran, certain universities ban female students from studying specific subjects, usually those concerning engineering and technology. In Mississippi in the US, a rapist can claim parental right over a child. In Israel, a woman needs her husband’s permission to get a divorce. In UAE, women have had to fight for their right to drive on the roads.
And to speak of ensuring women’s ‘safety’, in Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to try clothes while shopping, as it means that they would have to get naked behind the dressing room, which doesn’t go down well with the men. Thank heavens, they are ‘allowed’ to use the washrooms in malls and multiplexes.
Is there any safe haven for women at all?
The point one is trying to drive home is, no nation can ever create a ‘safe haven’ for women. There are umpteen examples of women being sexually exploited, raped and murdered across the globe. In the times that we live in, there isn’t any country which can be called ‘safe’ for women. The #MeToo campaign showed the world that sexual harassment is everywhere around us and not limited to any particular nation. So, why this rat race for being the ‘safest nation for women’?
Will the scenario change if another 548 random people poll India as the safest nation for women? Deep down, we all know where we stand. Do we really need a silly poll to show us our place in the world? Instead of ranting about politicians, art and cinema being responsible for the rising number of crimes against women, how about cleaning up our own acts?
We can surely begin by raising our son right and by bringing to book the roadside eve teaser whom we conveniently ignore while commuting to our workplace. Women can name and shame the person molesting or leching at her, while men can support her instead of just being mute spectators.
It’s high time we realise that there’s a difference between gender equality and gender bashing. Women’s safety and men’s silence. Unsafe nation and safe haven. Poll facts and home truths.