Sexual harassment towards women can happen anywhere. In the park, in the office and even on an airplane. If you think about it, sexual harassment on the airplane can be easily done since everyone’s sitting so close to each other.
To thwart sexual harassment in the air, national airline Air India, decided that they will dedicate two rows on every flight for female passengers who travel alone.
The two rows will be located in the front of the plane where it would normally cost extra. For this new policy, the additional costs will be dropped. This decision immediately became a priority after two sexual harassment incidents this winter.
In one incident, a male passenger made a woman uncomfortable by touching her inappropriately sitting beside him. In another incident, a similar situation was experienced by a flight attendant. This resulted in both men being arrested.
Air India general manager Meenakshi Malik told The Hindu:
“We feel, as national carriers, it is our responsibility to enhance comfort level to female passengers. There are a lot of female passengers who travel alone with us and we will be blocking a few seats for them.”
The Indian airline is not the first place where it sets aside an area just solely for women. In India, there are buses and trains that have female-only spaces.
The reason for this is because according to Al Jazeera:
“The total number of crimes against women, including rape, recorded by the crime bureau stood at 327,394, and related to sexual harassment, attempts to undress, importation of girls from foreign countries, cruelty by husbands or other relatives, kidnapping and abductions, among others.”
This issue is nothing new. What’s new is, people of India are finally speaking up.
Shreya Jani, who runs a peace education NGO in New Delhi says,
“It’s heartening to see that now more women are reporting these crimes and speaking up. As Indian women, we are a paradox of strength and silence. I am glad the silence is being broken by many now.”
With more women speaking up, there are more startups in India trying to combat this. For example, SheTaxi, a 24/7 taxi service for women started in 2013 to ensure safety.
Here are other apps that combat sexual harassment :