On a recent survey by Thomson Reuters Foundation, London, India has ranked as the most dangerous place in the world for women.
To let the perception of people change, India's tourism industry has unveiled a campaign in its overseas offices to highlight that women are safe in the country.
Seven years ago when the same poll was conducted, India ranked fourth among five countries. This year, India has climbed three places and has topped the list. Some of the risks include child marriage and female foeticide.
Then, violence against women, sexual or not, was not considered as a major factor. Now, although the parameters have remained quite the same, sexual violence, human trafficking, and customary practices have skyrocketed India at the top of the list.
Initiatives By The Indian Government
A letter sent out to Indian diplomatic missions, tourism offices, and trade and hospitality itemized some safety initiatives which the government has taken out since a student was gang-raped in New Delhi in December 2012. The said case triggered a global outrage.
According to the tourism ministry, the rape and murder case paved way for a stricter anti-rape laws and four out of five tourist women feels safe in the country. This urged government offices to publicize facts to address the concerns and worries of people, especially women, about visiting India.
The letter stated that the efforts that were undertaken have been showing results and the life average of an Indian woman has improved so much in the last decade. The Ministry even sent out a letter to Thomson Reuters Foundation, whose team of 548 experts found out about India's risks for women, among countries like Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Official records states that crimes against women in India was at 9.4 percent in 2011. In 2012, it went up to 10.2 percent, and since then, it has remained beyond 10.5 percent. There has also been a rise in the absolute numbers, from 2, 19, 142 in 2011, to 3, 25, 652 in 2016. This does not include 36,022 offenses against children that were fined under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Improved Condition For Indian Women And Tourists
The letter also mentioned different support mechanisms for local women and tourists in India which includes women's helplines and one-stop centers which have been around since 2012. Harder punishments have also been imposed to offenses to women including stalking, and acid attacks.
Additionally, it listed moves by the tourism ministry such as the 24/7 toll free tourist helpline which in is 12 different languages, and well as social awareness media campaigns that help people realize how important good behavior is toward tourists.