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Moving Towards Gender Equitable Public Transport Operations in a Post-COVID World

Moving Towards Gender Equitable Public Transport Operations in a Post-COVID World


Sonal Shah, the Founder of The Urban Catalysts and Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainable and Equitable Cities, joined us for our seminar series on 21st September 2023 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the mobility of women workers in the informal sector.

Shah presented an interesting study conducted by their organization in 2021 which is titled as “Moving Towards Gender Equitable Public Transport Operations in a Post-COVID World.” The key points of the discussion are given below.

She laid down the context of the study by highlighting the impact of the pandemic on women which is as follows:

  • Fall in income
  • Increase in care work in household
  • Increase in domestic violence

The study aimed to-

  • To provide evidence and fast-track knowledge uptake to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on resource-poor women’s mobility
  • To inform policy guidance and response by low and lower-middle countries in addressing gender equity, safety, and personal security in public transport
  • To deep-dive in Delhi with learnings for cities in South Asia



Methodology Adopted in their study

  • Rapid literature review: They studied the impact of COVID-19 in selected cities – Dhaka, Lahore, Karachi, Kathmandu
  • Roundtable: They compared similarities in the impact of COVID on the mobility of women workers in the informal sector across cities
  • Key Informant Interviews: They talked to transport experts from the government, multi-lateral development banks, think tanks, etc.
  • Primary survey: They conducted with 800 women workers across different settlements in Delhi
  • Lastly, they disseminated the recommendations to key informants and roundtable participants

The primary survey of the study identified resource-poor women (RPW) in Delhi. Their profile was as follows:

  • 65 percent of RPW did not receive any formal education;
  • Only 10 percent have access to smartphones;
  • 84 percent of RPW do not own a vehicle

The findings highlighted by Sonal in their study are as follows:

  1. About 79 percent of RPW did not work in the 68 days of lockdown and lost an estimated INR 754 crores across Delhi; RPW travelled 20 percent less as compared to pre-COVID times; shared paratransit (IPT) is the next preferred mode of transport because of less waiting time.
  2. Concerns while traveling: Reserved seats were not enforced in the bus; the driver did not stop the bus for women passengers due to free service; rash driving and over-crowding in IPT.
  3. Women e-rickshaw drivers suffer a loss of INR 5000 due to safety, household, and care taxes. They operated in routes closer to their homes and earned lower revenues than men.

The recommendations disseminated by them to the roundtable participants and technical experts to complete the loop are as follows:

  1. A model that subsidizes the purchase of commercial assets and provides support from membership organizations.
  2. Creation of a mechanism for complaint that is not necessarily based on smartphones. Having coordinated responses to complaints across different modes of transport at the command-and-control centre set up by the transport department.
  3. Need for multi-modal subsidy for RPW
  4. Increase electric vehicle adoption amongst RPW, reservation of parking spaces at metro stations, and waive parking fees for women e-rickshaw drivers.

Watch the recording here

‘Nayi Chetna – Pahal Badlav Ki’ campaign Marks its Second Year in the battle against Gender-Based Violence

‘Nayi Chetna – Pahal Badlav Ki’ campaign Marks its Second Year in the battle against Gender-Based Violence

November 25th, 2023 marked the launch of the year two of Nayi Chetna, Pahal Badlaav ki. Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality is proud to partner with esteemed Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).

Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and Minister of State for Rural Development and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti inaugurated the campaign in New Delhi. Secretary Rural Development, Shri Shailesh Kumar Singh, Addl. Secretary Rural Livelihoods, Shri Charanjit Singh and Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Dr. Shamika Ravi, dignitaries and representatives from the State Livelihoods Mission, the banking community, development partners and CSOs, SHG members from across the country were also present in the occasion.

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development announced the commencement of the second year of its flagship annual campaign, Nayi Chetna- Pahal Badlaav Ki, dedicated to address gender issues and eliminating gender-based violence. The launch coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign aims to address pressing issues like normalization of violence, reluctance to speak up, lack of awareness of support mechanisms, and the absence of perceived safe spaces.


Violence against women and girls continue to be one of the biggest deterrents to achieving well-being, self-growth and a life of dignity. Physical or psychological violence is a gross violation of basic human rights and impedes women and girls achieving their full potential and living a life of their choice. Gender-based violence is a global pandemic that affects 1 in every 3 women in their lifetime. Evidence reveals that women are often unable to identity violence meted out to them because of normalization of discrimination and violence. Even if they do identify violence, they are unable to share or raise their voice against it to avoid naming and shaming and they continue to suffer in silence.  Most women, by and large, are unaware of redressal mechanisms, service providers and lack legal awareness.


DAY-NRLM has been at the forefront of gender empowerment since 2016 and recognizes this social evil as a major hindrance towards achieving individual and social development and hence aims to take necessary actions for eliminating Gender Based Violence. As part of its ongoing effort of mobilizing and addressing issues of marginalized communities and women, DAY-NRLM emphasises on the need for creating institutional mechanisms of responding to issues of violence along with integration of gender in all verticals for a larger perspective shift. Towards this, DAY-NRLM initiated the Nayi Chetna – Pahal Badlaav Ki campaign, which garnered immense success in its first year, mobilizing 3.5 crore people nationwide.


The campaign engages a wide array of stakeholders, including State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs), community institutions, Panchayati Raj Institutions, members of the community, DAY-NRLM verticals, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and relevant line Ministries and Departments.

The campaign has been launched for a period of one month with convergence with 13 Ministries/Departments. The campaign will undertake awareness building activities at community levels for sensitisation of all sections of the community. This would include rangoli making, pledge for elimination of gender-based violence, meetings at gram sabha level, essay and drawing competition, etc. In addition, special efforts will be made sensitise panchayat level functionaries on laws pertaining to gender-based violence and creation of safe spaces of women.  During the period of campaign, meetings of gender forums will be organised at block level and district level, sensitisation of police station personnels and other functionaries like health workers, schools, etc.

The campaign has been rightly given taglines of ‘Sahenge nahin kahenge’ and ‘Chuppi Todenge’.

Launch of annual campaign Nayi Chetna with the Ministry of Rural Development

Launch of annual campaign ‘Nayi Chetna’ with the Ministry of Rural Development
A step against gender based discrimination

Gender-based discrimination, often seen in the form of violence against women, girls and gender-diverse individuals, continues to be one of the biggest deterrents to achieving self-growth, well-being and a life of dignity. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 data reveals that 30% of women between the age of 18 and 49 have experienced violence (physical, sexual, or emotional) since 15 years of age. It also reveals that as many as 77% women never sought help from anyone about the violence inflicted on them. Figures from the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India 2021’ report show that India registered 31,677 cases of rape in 2021 – an average 86 daily – while nearly 49 cases of crime against women were lodged every single hour. With a global rate of 1 in 3 women being a victim of violence, and given its physiological and psychological impacts, this human rights violation deters individuals from achieving their full potential and living a life of their choice. Individuals from socially marginalized groups are more acutely affected as gender-based violence is an added layer of vulnerability.
IWWAGE in partnership with Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), UNICEF and Roshni recognize this social evil as a hindrance towards achieving individual and social development and aims to take necessary actions advance the rights of women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals. Strategic efforts have been made towards gender-mainstreaming by integrating gender approaches into its policies and programming to address gender inequality. These include building capacities of rural community-based institutions to identify and take action against issues of gender-based discrimination and setting up institutional mechanisms to make this process sustainable. The staff on ground and in the field were also given training and sensitization to integrate gender approaches into operations to create an enabling environment for multi-sectoral gender-responsive and transformative interventions in rural communities.

To add momentum and build on these ongoing efforts against gender-based discrimination, an annual national-level Gender Campaign against Gender-based discrimination, ‘Nayi Chetna’ was initiated. This month-long campaign was flagged off on the 25th of November marking the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, ending on the 23rd of December. The campaign was graced and launched by Hon’ble Sh. Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of India and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Rural Development, Government of India, along with other senior officials from MoRD. IWWAGE also showcased an animated movie called ‘Kamli Ki Kahaani’ translating as ‘The story of Kamli’, a case study-based story following the lead ‘Kamli’, a victim of domestic violence. Through the medium of the video our aim was to educate the audience on various forms of violence and on redressal mechanisms provided by the government for anyone who may be a victim of violence.

The goal of the campaign is to advance the agency and rights of women and gender diverse individuals, by addressing structural barriers for dignified living with no fear and discrimination and violence based on their gender and intersectional identities. This marks the first campaign as the campaign will be observed annually for the next five years, with a focus on specific themes responding to gender equity each year. Importantly, this is envisioned in the spirit of a ‘Jan Andolan’ or People’s movement with follow-up actions planned for the rest of the year beyond the month-long campaign. It will thus gradually work towards deepening an intersectional approach to address multiple vulnerabilities, enhanced convergence and deepening the understanding of gender and generating relevant and ownership for multisectoral action.
The campaign ran in all 34 states and union territories of India. This campaign was implemented by all states in collaboration with CSO partners, and actively executed by all levels including the State, District, Block engaging the Community Institutions along with the extended community. It also marked the inauguration of 160 Gender Resource Centres (GRCs) in 13 states. GRCs are intended to act as a catalyst to support women through social, legal & economic empowerment in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. There are 1,251 gender resource centres set up across the country from where women facing gender violence can seek help. The Campaign also brought together all line departments and stakeholders to create a concerted effort in acknowledging, identifying, and addressing issues of violence. There was an array of activities which were conducted during the campaign, some of which were night walk, rallies, street plays, wall paintings, hosting of legal and gender camps and women leadership workshops.

Watch the recording here