Change the mindset. Strengthen the law. And acknowledge the collective institutional and social failure to control sexual harassment and discrimination at large against women. These were the key takeaways from a panel discussion held by Hindustan Times, in collaboration with the Institute for Development and Communication, to conclude the campaign for a safer tricity for women.
The first female Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and civil society activist Kiran Bedi, the lead speaker at the seminar titled ‘Women Safety: Challenges and Way Forward’, gave a “Six-P Plan” towards building a safer and egalitarian environment for women. She underlined that women safety was “not a gender issue but a human rights issue”.
Pramod Kumar, chairperson of Punjab Governance Reforms Commission, chaired the session and said the problem of an insecure environment for women was now more glaring. Adding, Rainuka Dagar, head of the Centre for Gender Studies at the IDC, said the law alone would not help as it could not change moral values, social norms and attitudes.
Theatre personality Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry said violence against women had existed always, but it was acquiring visibility thanks to increased awareness.
Punjab’s additional director general of police (ADGP), community policing, SK Sharma said each individual was responsible for a “cultural deficit”.
Apart from the venue at the IDC in Sector 38, the discussion was telecast live through at the police station in Sector 14, Panchkula, where young cops were among the audience, and also at Chandigarh Group of Colleges at Landran.