Talk of equality: Prioritise rights of women in buses first

ADELMO FERNANDES, Vasco | APRIL 14, 2024, 01:11 AM IST

We shout from the rooftop when we talk about women empowerment in our society. Incidentally, women empowerment is the process by which women gain power and control over their own lives and acquire the ability to make strategic choices. It involves education, health, security, finances, and emotion. We need to treat all women as equal to men and show respect, support, uphold human rights, and show no discrimination.

We need to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all women. But do we really follow these norms in a male-dominated society? It is pertinent to note that all government buses mandatorily have the front few seats reserved for lady passengers. This is written in bold letters above the bus seats. Unfortunately, more often than not, these seats are occupied by male passengers, and women are made to travel while standing. At times, men could be occupying the seats reserved for ladies even when a woman is carrying a child in her arms or a pregnant lady is travelling on the bus. These women travelling as standing passengers could be feeling uncomfortable among the male passengers. A few ladies may object to the male passengers occupying the ladies' seats, while the majority of the ladies could be suffering in silence. Many may have to travel long distances as standing passengers.

The bus conductor or the bus driver should object to men occupying seats reserved for ladies. There could be private buses that do not have seats reserved for ladies. This provision should be made mandatory for all buses, including city buses.

If male passengers are occupying the reserved seats, they should immediately provide the seat to a lady passenger. Women empowerment should start in our local buses. We need to respect and ensure the safety and well-being of women.

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