Delhi wants its women home before 8 p.m., while men can enjoy a slightly longer curfew, at least as per a new survey that has laid bare the city’s double standards.
Over 85 per cent of respondents said the head of their household was comfortable with an adult female member of the family being out till 8 p.m. or before. Whereas, a total of 72 per cent said the same head of the household was fine with an adult male member of the family being out till 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.
However, the deadline for men is rather restrictive as well, with the majority (58 per cent) saying a 10 p.m. deadline is what the head of their household is comfortable with.
Women’s rights activist and the secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), Kavita Krishnan, said the result of the survey showed the “gendered perspective” when it came to curfews.
“It’s not about safety at all. It’s about society’s expectations of women in a domestic role. Women are expected to come home and take care of the house,” said Ms. Krishnan.
She added that the relatively early curfew for men showed that there was an “anxiety” about the younger members of a family going out into the world and finding their own partners.
“The head of a family feels the need to control the sexuality of the younger members. They feel the need to impose hierarchy,” said Ms. Krishnan.
Police officials also discounted the possibility of the law and order situation leading to earlier curfews. A senior Delhi Police official said the perception that Delhi was unsafe for women was not true.
“Delhi is not a rape capital as portrayed in the media. Other big cities in the world, like New York, have similar problems,” said the official.
Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Centre for Social Research, however feels the “lack of safety” is the reason for earlier deadlines for women.
“Safety is a concern for both men and women, but women bear the brunt of it. They are expected to be home earlier as they are seen as unable to fend off any attacks,” said Ms. Kumari.
Shiralie Chaturvedi, a communications professional in South Delhi, said though her family had not imposed any restrictions, she was expected to be cautious when travelling alone after 10 p.m. “No one has told me what time to be home, but it is implied that if I’m coming home at night, I should take a cab and have company preferrably,” said Ms. Chaturvedi.