Exempting women at ‘odds’ with an even society

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016,11:31 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Several women in the city, caught in a bind over being exempted from the car rationing scheme, are voluntarily opting for carpooling and public transport, saying the privilege was at odds with the concept of equality. Sakshi Mittal, an education consultant, thinks the provision that allows women to travel with children up to the age of 12 institutionalises traditional gender roles where a female is expected to take care of kids.

If the government wants to exempt just in case a woman is with her child, similar privilege should also be given to men travelling with kids, Mittal said, adding that equality looks like a long fight till we keep getting privileges. However, as much as they want to do their bit in fighting pollution, some find themselves in a fix as they feel inadequate public transport makes travelling unsafe for women. If I take the metro I will have to deboard at Govindpuri station and then take an auto to reach home since there is no station near my place in Batla House. I feel unsafe to travel in an auto alone so I am left with no choice but to drive, said Maryam Chouhan, an advertising executive.

Masters student Aaliyah Khan is willingly contributing by opting for carpooling on alternate days while Manisha Tyagi, who is buying a car soon, has already decided to follow the measures as she does not think that women drivers should be given any privilege. Referring to rising cases of sexual violence, law student Mallika Chadda, who travels to the city from Noida, said that her parents would not allow her to switch to public transport even if I want.

Every day I travel to Noida and come back home around 8 PM. I honestly don’t feel safe travelling alone in an auto. I feel safe to travel by my own vehicle, she said. Delhi High court had recently asked the AAP government to clarify why women drivers and two-wheelers were exempted from the odd-even number plate scheme that came into force on January 1.