Empowering Young Women | Promoting Their Safety and Health – ActionAid India
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Empowering Young Women | Promoting Their Safety and Health

Published on: Tuesday, 29th March 2022

Author: Priyanka Khullar

In Hyderabad, Telangana, ActionAid Association is working towards empowering young women from 10 slums. The programme focuses on their promoting their economic participation, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Considering the rising number of cases of violence against women in public places, we recently initiated Safety Audit in the aforementioned slums. A tool to help women identify factors within a given space that make them feel safe or unsafe, safety audit enables women to learn how to take care of their safety, besides getting them involved in local decision-making.

Ahead of the audit, members of young women’s collectives underwent a two-day training on the objectives of safety audit, processes involved and their implementation. Subsequently, these women initiated the audit, beginning with a rapid situation analysis of their respective bastis and the safety concerns in terms of physical infrastructure and social environment. Thereafter, safety walks were carried out in the city by these young women and safety mapping done. The community maps thus prepared highlighted locations as per how safe they are for women – with red indicating highly unsafe locations and green representing the safe ones. On February 14, these young leaders met with the Circle Inspector, Begumpet Police Station, and had a discussion on women’s safety. Safety maps, with clear indication of the unsafe red zones, were also shared with the police department and SHE team (a division of Telangana Police for enhanced safety and security of women). The demands presented by these young women during the meeting included awareness-generation on laws pertaining to women’s safety and measures to prevent violence against women, besides conducting self-defence trainings in bastis and educational institutions by the SHE team. These women also demanded the presence of female police personnel during patrolling; installation of CCTV cameras at 10 locations and repair of the cameras not functional. Following their request, the Circle Inspector invited a group of young women for an exposure visit to the CCTV control room and to check the functioning of CCTVs.

In February, on the occasion of World Cancer Day, we had organised a daylong awareness camp on cancer together with District Medical and Health Department, Hyderabad. Recognising how financial concerns cause women to neglect their health, we also facilitated free health screening for women and their consultation with doctors in association with MNJ Cancer Institute, Hyderabad. During the programme, more than 200 women underwent mammography and cancer screening, besides receiving a doctor’s consultation. Dr. J Venkati, District Medical and Health Officer, Hyderabad, and Dr. Soujanya, radiologist and gynaecologist, were invited to the programme to speak with women on measures to prevent cancer and to address their queries.

Working together with supporters, we are empowering young women across a total of 13 cities in India – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna and Srinagar – reaching out to nearly 4,500 young women from 120 slums.