In about a month, it will be seven years since a paramedic’s gang rape in Delhi became a flashpoint for women’s safety in the country. While that led to several reforms on paper, such as the national Nirbhaya fund and death penalty for child rapists, India is still way off from making people feel safe.
Nearly 80% Indian women still feel their government is not doing enough to ensure their safety, according to a survey by Neta App, a platform for citizen engagement on civic governance.
“These findings highlight the desperate need for policy reforms, stricter laws, and on-ground application of these laws to ensure a safer environment for women,” Pratham Mittal, founder of the platform, told Quartz.
Of the 100,000 women surveyed by Neta App, 42% said they either feel “unsafe” or “very unsafe.” Women in states such as Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh felt the most threatened, while those in Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Kerala were comfortable with the levels of safety in their neighbourhoods.
Among metro cities, Delhi is the least safe for women, around 65% of those surveyed said they ever faced at least one incident that compromised their security—much higher than in Mumbai (41%), Kolkata (50%), or Chennai (38%).
|Rank of how secure women feel in Indian states|
|1. Himachal Pradesh|
|4. Andhra Pradesh|
|6. Tamil Nadu|
|12. Madhya Pradesh|
|16. Uttar Pradesh|
|17. West Bengal|
|22. Arunachal Pradesh|
The percentage of women who feel “very safe” in the country remains quite low (27%), but states like Himachal Pradesh (61%), bucked the trend.
While Haryana has improved its sex ratio, female infanticide and honour killings make it a repeat defaulter in most categories, according to Neta App’s survey.
The Delhi government has spent over Rs500 crore ($70.7 million) on its ambitious project to instal CCTV cameras across the city, but 83% women there feel that’s not enough. The worst is Haryana (92%), though.