The chances of getting abducted in Delhi increase manifold if you are female, work till late in the night and your workplace is a mall or a nightclub. Are there enough safeguards for women employed in such places?
Till a few months ago, 28-year-old Delhi-based Anju Gupta posed happily on her bike. A delivery girl with a Slice of Italy cap on her head, she vroomed across the city to deliver pizzas. A rather bold profession for a Delhi girl, where safety at night is often a casualty. Soon, Gupta’s ambitions took a backseat. After a eight-month stint at the job, she quit. “Usually my shift got over at 7 pm, but there were exceptions when I worked till nine. I had to walk for 30 minutes from the outlet to my house. There were instances when some men followed me and passed lewd comments, but fortunately nothing serious happened,” says Gupta, who even asked for a drop-back facility from her employers. The request was turned down. Now unemployed, Gupta feels lucky not to be in the place of four women who left a Gurgaon mall late at night, on July 24, and were harassed by a bunch of drunk men who first asked them to dance and later attempted abduction.
According to a 2010 survey conducted by Delhi government with the United Nations and NGO Jagori, about 85 per cent of Delhi's women are scared of being sexually harassed. The recent incident only diverts attention to the numbers.
Not all employers take responsibility, so many women survive by making their own arrangements. “I have a car, but on days when it is not available, my security is my responsibility,” says 30-year-old Sanchali, a Delhi-based emcee and a regular face at Delhi events. She is miffed, but drives back alone at odd hours.
For a woman working in a nightclub, even if she is only taking table bookings, there is always a chance that drunk and misbehaved men could bother her. The rise in such incidents has led to baby steps towards new initiatives. Club Sirrocco in the Capital’s Vasant Kunj, for instance, has started a drop-back facility, where a security guard accompanies women. “I have two women working at the bar, but I make sure they are in the background and do not have any direct interaction with clients. No one can guarantee that a drunk person will not misbehave,” says Munni Sethi,