“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
– Shirley Chisholm (First African-American Woman elected to the US Congress)
Women in India have progressed leaps and bounds – leaving our society both, shocked and proud. They have truly learnt to bring in their own chairs and publicly lauded for the same.
While women Empowerment is on a high rise in India, we must address something as a major issue – a safe ‘Employee Transit System’ (ETS) or in simple terms daily office commute for women in our country.
Lack of safe mobility system in India has hampered the participation of women in the workforce. If we consider the 2011 Census, women only represent 17% of the total population commuting to work in urban areas. As per the reports, even Metro cities like, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai etc. the percentage does not go beyond 20.
Here are few points to note as roadblocks –
- Expensive Private/Shared Cabs and Limited access to cheaper transportation medium.
- Safety is the biggest concern – women and girls must feel safe to take public transits.
- Around 50% of the urban population is that of women and young girls, only 19% of them come under the “other workers” criteria per the census report.
Safety being the major issue, here is what Elsa Maria D’Silva shared with ‘SheThePeople.TV’, “Safety is important in making women and girls access public spaces confidently. Often, the harassment is normalised, but its impact leads women and girls to modify their behaviours and movement, restrict mobility and affects self-confidence. Over a period of time, this can impact in many other ways – choice of career, less financial independence because one compromises on jobs, etc.”
As per a study by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy, while women comes close to 50% of the urban population, only 19% comes under the “other workers” criteria per the 2011 Census Report. The key detail to note here is, almost 85% of their commuting comprises of public, semi-public and engineless public transport.
Filling the Gap
Moving forward, technology has made everything so easy – thanks to GPS, the condition for women to commute has improved and it seems akin to a silver lining in the clouds. This entails that entire Public Transit System should be GPS enabled, loaded with safety features. Private Cab companies, though, have this module already operational; they have lacked the incentive to keep it ‘Safe’ or so to say.
Zipgo, founded in the year 2015 in Bengaluru – began its journey on the prospect of not to just start an ETS based company but to be the change in the very industry. Issues basis environment, women safety, commuting hassles were the key aspects and we have been quite passionate to keep adding value to what we believe in – filling that very gap for women employees to commute safe and stress-free every day.
The basic question would be how are we trying to bridge this huge gap? Let us begin by stating that total number of women commuting with zipgo Bus service is more than 35%, which is almost, double the actual National Average as per the 2011 Census. So what is so unique about us?
We have a GPS enabled, live tracking system in place on our app and women have SOS options. A woman can share her ride with their family members or friends and there is an option to contact the local police directly. The positive side to this story is, we believe in being safe than sorry.
In addition, since zipgo is a schedule base ETS and the timings are fixed, it makes life for women so much easy. They do not have to wait at bus stops; also, unlike cabs or cab-pools the number of people hailing our buses are more – greater the head count, safer the ride.
This said, there is more to this story – we truly believe that our commuters are our pride and we feel glad to have created a system that is safe and secure. Our SOS system is just not for Women safety but for safety of our commuters in its entirety. Zipgo has always taken a holistic approach in their endeavours and we are committed to keep this practice alive.