Geographies of Indian Women’s Everyday Public Safety

  • Rituparna BhattacharyyaEmail author
  • Sanjay Prasad


Public spaces are those spaces where all citizens, irrespective of gender, caste, class, sexuality, disability or any other social identity have a right to access. Importantly, the geographies of public space are gendered and ‘practiced place’, where individuals use these spaces to fulfil their varied needs and aspirations of their everyday life while trying to maintain dignity, safety and self-respect. With increased urbanization and neoliberal economic transformation, Indian women’s mobility through public spaces has increased. A number of recent evidence including the high-profile December 2012 Nirbhaya (fearless) gang-rape case in New Delhi suggest that the towns and cities lack a sense of belongingness and fail to safeguard its women and vulnerable population. The horrific Nirbhaya incident, which triggered massive nationwide protest led to the constitution of a number of committee/commission like Justice Verma Committee (JVC), Justice Usha Mehra Commission as well as amendments to a number of legislations—Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015—all aimed at enhancing women’s safety. Yet, the incidents of women’s assaults continue to bear powerful resonance. Arguably, women’s safety is development. The key aim of this chapter is two-fold. First, it aims to review the spatialities of women’s unsafety using the National Crime Records Bureau database. Second, using these data and in conjunction with the recommendations of the JVC report, Justice Usha Mehra Commission, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, it makes suggestions for improving the geographies of gendered public space in order to make them liveable.


Indian women Justice Usha Mehra commission Justice Verma committee Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 Safety 



At the outset, we offer ‘very big thank you’ to all the editors—Rajiv Thakur, Ashok Dutt, George Pomeroy and Sudhir Thakur for offering us the opportunity to contribute this chapter. We are equally grateful to Dhritiman Biswa Sarma for copy-editing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Journal Space and Culture, India & Alliance for Community Capacity Building in North East IndiaNorth ShieldsUK
  2. 2.SAMNE Associates Private Limited Delhi, Provision of GIS Consulting Services under the Institutional Development Program of the JICA Assisted Ganga Action Plan ProjectVaranasiIndia

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