B.PAC & Nirbhaya Fund
B.PAC has often addressed the urgent issues and big questions by finding feasible and executable solutions. So when research began to show that
- A study conducted in Delhi reported over 90% of women have faced some form of sexual harassment in just the past year
- In a study done by Safe Safar with UCL, 88 percent of the respondents said that they had faced sexual comments while on public transport
- A Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) survey among female commuters in 2013 found that two out of three commuters faced regular harassment
B.PAC’s women and child safety program B.SAFE chose to tackle the problems from the grassroots. B.PAC began to work with BMTC in conducting “gender sensitisation” workshops to create gender sensitization awareness amongst the BMTC staff, given two-thirds of its commuters are women. This program was enabled by Nirbhaya Fund.
Often, people in distress seek the help of people in authority, i.e., the driver and conductor when met with harassment in the bus. However, various beliefs, understanding, and work pressure can cause them to be unempathetic and unresponsive to the issue. Often this results in men commuters getting away with their poor behavior with women be it comments, language, gestures, and real harassment in many cases. BMTC has shown its keenness towards nurturing a safe environment for its female commuters through separate seating for women, setting up a helpline number, and responding to commuter complaints. However, there was a felt need to engage with the frontline of BMTC in a more comprehensive way on gender sensitisation. B.PAC took the initiative by designing and implementing a “gender sensitization” program to cover 11000 drivers, conductors, and other ground staff in Phase 1. Phase 2 workshop would be for the remaining 16000, to cover a total number of 27000 BMTC staff.
What is the program about?
B.PAC has designed and customized a 180-minute Gender Sensitization Workshop for the BMTC staff. Allowing open dialogue and unlimited questions, the sole focus is on bringing about a shift in perspective. The workshop includes animation videos, role play, real situation reviews, and a handbook in easy-to-understand format besides recommended posters on the safety of women and children in buses.
What happens in these workshops?
B.SAFE takes pride in carefully structuring and executing a program designed to open the minds of BMTC ground staff.
- Context Setting exposes the staff to commuters’ experiences in buses, the needs of women commuters, the essential nature of public transport, and how they could create a safer space.
- Passenger Demographics address the diverse cultural range of the conductors and drivers often leading to stereotyping and misunderstanding their female passengers. Through an interactive session that helps understand and value various types of passengers and encourages empathy and enables them to address any issue, if it happens in the bus
- Role Play Activity teaches how to create a respectful experience by playing out various grievances and leaving space for the participants to discover their personal way of responding while discovering the joy that comes with it.
- Sexual Harassment at Workplace allows them to see their fellow female employees in a new light in lieu of the recently learned information while teaching them to be more sensitive towards their hurdles.
What is the impact?
These modules are followed by a quiz to track the progress of the participants, the results of which have so far been very positive. There is a visible change in the attitude of the conductors and drivers and this is further proved by the quiz results where almost 80 % have scored well on the gender sensitisation quiz
Women’s safety has often had a strong impact on women’s mobility, accessibility, and confidence. With this gender sensitizing program, BMTC partnering with B.SAFE aspires to empower more women towards safe commuting and better opportunities. Find the updated information on the program here.