India Sees A Rise In "Women-Only" Spaces

Not only are such spaces -- including a proposed park and bank -- on the increase, demand for them is increasing as well. Opponents say that they represent a step backwards.

What's the Latest Development?


More than nine months after a brutal gang rape that resulted in the death of the victim, India has witnessed both an increase in the number of public spaces reserved just for women and an uptick in the number of women seeking such spaces. Some of them -- such as segregated train and subway cars as well as cab services -- were in place before the December attack. However, the city of Coimbatore is planning to open a women-only park, and in November the Indian government will launch a entire banking system just for women in hopes of addressing the severe gap in financial equity between the genders.

What's the Big Idea?

The December attack put a spotlight on sexual violence in India, where statistics indicate that reports of rape have jumped by more than 25 percent in recent years. While supporters praise the efforts by local and federal officials to protect women by creating safer spaces, critics challenge the long-term effectiveness of such efforts. Center for Social Research director Ranjana Kumari says, "Women still have to come out and walk on the same streets and work in the same offices and shop in the same markets as men....[Limiting spaces] is not at all a good message. It encourages segregation and more violence."

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