Punjab to challenge regressive stereotypes against women; arterial road in all districts to be reserved only for women and girls

Intervening night of 7th & 8th March 6 km stretch will be dedicated to women and girls from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am

Chandigarh, March 3:

In a bid to improve the status of women in society, the Punjab Government, taking a lead in the country, has decided to celebrate the International Women Day in a unique way. Challenging the regressive stereotypes that women and children are supposed to get behind closed doors at dusk because the roads usually have only men on them after dark; the government will reserve the stretch of main road in every district for various activities for women and girls of all age groups from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am on that day.

Giving further details, Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary, Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Development said, the state government is ensuring that streets should be safe for the women and girls and their participation in economic activity could be increased. Women should not be stopped from taking up jobs that require them to travel after dark. Thus, embracing the theme #Reclaim Public Spacesthe department has decided that the International Women Day should be celebrate in a novel way. She said that on the intervening night of 7th & 8th March from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am at least 6 km stretch of an arterial road in all district headquarters and major towns shall be reserved only for women and girls of all age groups.

The Minister said that the activities on the road will include walk, run, cycling, dance for a cause, impromptu flash dances, human chain, signature scroll to highlight the need for a gender-sensitive world in which no girl or woman suffers abuse or assault of any kind. Besides this, vibrant food stalls and showcasing of women’s enterprise along the well lit-up roads will add another feather in the cap. “If some women start using the streets after dark for work, leisure, recreation or fitness, more and more women will be encouraged to come out and reclaim those public spaces that were hitherto closed to them, despite their being equal citizens”, she said, adding that if such activities are held regularly, a culture of safe and bustling streets will be ushered in.

Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary further said that all the deputy commissioners, SSPs, district social security officers, district program officers and all district heads of Health, Education, Urban Development and Local Bodies departments have been asked to ensure the maximum participation of the women and girls, students from educational institutions, employees of private establishments, staff of call centres, doctors, engineers, teachers, role models and others. She directed all district officers of the department that the entire programme should be streamed live on all social media platforms. The Minister further added that the concerned Ministers, MLAs and prominent achievers would lead the extravaganza.

The Minister empathetically said that on that day, men desirous to join only at both ends of the road. They will take a pledge to be gender-sensitive and work in tandem with women to make the world a better and safer place. She said that the government is truly sensitive to the need for safety and dignity of women and several steps have been taken to emphasize the role of women in all walks of life and include them in the mainstream for creating a gender-equal world. One of the important aspects in this connection is the need for safe public spaces and safe public transport.

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