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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

‘Girlcott’ campaigners mean business

Deevakar Anand, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, April 17, 2012
First Published: 02:01 IST(17/4/2012) | Last Updated: 02:02 IST(17/4/2012)

Emboldened by the response received for the ‘Girlcott’ campaign from a section of residents, activists have now decided to expand the scope of the movement. In the first-of-its kind initiative in the Millennium City, women activists have decided to identify vulnerable spots in the city and conduct a safety audit.

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The aim is to create safe environs for women, where they can work and move around without fear, said activists. The activists have roped in a Delhi-based NGO, Jagori, for the purpose.

The Gurgaon Girlcott campaign was launched from April 13 to 15 by a group of city women who decided not to splurge on shopping in malls and eating out. The move was aimed at hampering business of merchandisers, who in turn would mount pressure on authorities to ensure adequate safety.

The audit will be on the lines of a similar exercise conducted in the national Capital and those conducted internationally by groups like the Women in Cities International (WICI).

The audit will entail a number of volunteers — both men and women — who will visit streets, malls, residential areas and gather responses of women and commuters on safety issues.

“After identifying the troubled spots, we will present a petition to the deputy commissioner and demand action,” said Kalpana Viswanath of the Jagori’s Safe Cities Programme.

Proper lighting, good pavements and presence of hawkers, better public transport, adequate police presence are some of the factors that can build confidence among women.

The groups that participated in the campaign — Let’s Walk Gurgaon, music group Gurgaon Drum Circle and other women groups — have pledged their support to Jagori's safety audit.

“We will meet this week and decide on the future course of action,” said Richa Dubey who had floated the Girlcott campaign. “The movement cannot end as a symbolic three-day protest. We mean business and will continue to press for the safety of women,” said Sehba Imam of Let’s Walk Gurgaon.


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