India’s Kerala state holds ‘Girls Night Out’ drive to encourage women to feel safe after dark
- A 2018 survey of global experts on women’s issues ranked India as the most dangerous country for women, citing a high risk of sexual violence
- Government data in 2021 showed a 13 per cent increase of crimes against women recorded compared to 2020, and a 19 per cent rise in cases of rape
A “Girls Night Out” initiative in the Indian state of Kerala aimed at allowing women to experience night life safely has shone a spotlight on a major issue of concern in a country once identified as the world’s most dangerous place for women.
The four-day campaign, started by Mathew Kuzhalnadan, a representative of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, saw a half-kilometre stretch of a state highway decorated with festive lighting and food stalls from 5.30pm to 11.30pm.
Live music performances, Zumba dance and training, and a women’s marathon were some of the many activities organised as part of the initiative.
Data from India’s National Crime Records Bureau in 2021 showed a 13 per cent increase of crimes against women recorded compared to the year before, and a 19 per cent rise in cases of rape. The numbers show an average of 87 rape cases recorded every day in 2021.
On Sunday, the final day of the campaign, Kuzhalnadan added that the Girls Night Out campaign received an extraordinary response. “Many people and prominent personalities, including women, from the constituency and other places called to congratulate and express their support,” he said.
“This shows that the people of Kerala want a nightlife that women can also be a part of,” he added.
Hundreds of young women, as well as their families, came out to participate in the campaign, The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported. Talks were also held, in which women spoke about issues in the community such as lack of public toilet facilities and safe public transport.