How India is making traveling easier for women
LOCATED along the Southwest coast of India, Kerala is a known for its natural beauty, stunning palm-lined beaches, meandering backwaters and tropical climate.
Along with its good transport links to the rest of India, the region is popular among travelers and tourists.
However, India’s railway network isn’t entirely safe, secure, or efficient, and this is an issue the government and local authorities are trying to tackle.
As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative, a new high-speed railway from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is being built, among other plans to further strengthen India’s economy and make the rail networks more efficient.
In terms of safety and security, individual train stations are working to ensure all their passengers feel at ease while making a journey.
Kollam train station in Kerala is certainly taking steps to achieve this goal as it has just installed breastfeeding cabins on the platforms, in order for mothers to feed their children – a basic human right.
The cabins are located on platforms one and two and have been painted a vibrant pink as not to go unnoticed.
While this is a model currently being tested at Kollam station, the Railways Ministry has announced that it will join forces with the Rotary Club and help with the installation of such cabins across all Kerala railway stations.
Breast feeding cabins set up at Kollam railway station.https://t.co/dRCvhGVVTI
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) March 4, 2018
The announcement came just days after the monthly magazine Grihalakshmi received huge backlash for releasing a cover of model Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a baby.
A case is even being bought against it for the alleged lascivious image.
This, however, is not stopping authorities from demonstrating practice to make it easier for women to travel by train around India as other train stations have shown.
Last month, Bhopal Junction train station in Madhya Pradesh installed a sanitary napkin dispenser and incinerator for women to access clean and cheap products and dispose of them properly.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal visited a sanitary napkin production unit started by Railway Women’s Welfare Central Organization last week and announced that the dispensers will be installed in 200 major railway stations across the country.
In addition to these female safety campaigns, India has just gained its first all-female interstate railways station team.
Gandhinagar junction in Jaipur employees only women, and according to The Economics Times, men make excuses to gawk at the female employees in the ticket booths and around the station.
You won't see any male staff at this railway station in India. pic.twitter.com/LYJWqYzHVY
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 9, 2018
“Even though all the information is displayed on boards, they keep coming again and again with silly queries,” Mahima Dutt Sharma, a station employee told AFP.
Indian railways seem to be the starting point for female empowerment, and what better way to start a metaphorical journey of growth, than while on a literal journey?
Happy International Women’s Day!