Insist on equal numbers of security lanes for women and men in airports
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I've noticed a disturbing change in Bengaluru and Chennai airports over the past two years or so. Perhaps it's also true of other airports, but I know of these. At these airports, once you check in and proceed to the security check, if you're a woman, you have to walk far, all the way to the end of the hall and stand in 1 or 2 long, long lines for your security check. If you're a man, you have 8-10 lanes open to you, right in front of you as soon as you emerge from check-in. This is grossly discriminatory and unfair for numerous reasons. Let us go through some of them.
1. Women are equal citizens of India and as such have an equal right to public space. It amounts to apartheid to set aside a measly two security lanes for women (one of which never even works), squeezed into a far-off corner, while men get 8-10 lanes all to themselves, with nary a walk.
2. Look towards these two measly security lanes for women (one of which never works) and here is what you will see. Women with children and laptops and those children often tired, hungry, crying and being carried. Many of the women are senior citizens. The women’s line is very, very long and moves slowly. The children grow restless and women struggle with all the bags and children and laptops they are carrying. Stuck to their 2 (usually 1) lane, which they had to walk so far to get to, carrying their children and laptops and children's things. While the 8 men’s lanes move swiftly, the men having to wait much less in line and having to walk much less to get to those lines. And the men are only carrying laptops, not children and their things. The blood boils, it truly does, at this visible sign of discrimination and social inequality.
3. Even if we do not include the economic value of household labour, child-rearing and childbirth - there is a massive population of women in Bengaluru and Chennai who earn salaries and buy goods and pay taxes that go towards the building of public infrastructure. Of course, the rights of citizenship are not dependent on income and tax slabs, but women, with their varied forms of labour, have made Bengaluru and Chennai the cities that they are. It is appalling that these women should be subjected to such apartheid-like discrimination in their use of public space.
4. Women are not to blame and not to be penalised if India has a public molestation epidemic. If segregation is the answer, why isn’t it men who are corralled off, squeezed into two far-off lanes and made to experience collective discomfort as a gender given to molestation?
One look at how long and far-off the women’s line is and how few security belts have been allocated for women makes it clear that whoever came up with this idea does not have a gift for logistics, let alone egalitarian thinking. Clearly, the women are walking long and waiting long, with children and laptops and luggage, as well as advancing years, while the men with their little bags are moving through very fast. This arrangement is a logistical failure, an act of discrimination and a regular visual offence that raises the stress levels in a way women and right-thinking men do not deserve.
Kindly support me in calling upon the chairmen and directors of the Airports Authority of India as well as BIAL and Chennai airport and any other airport that has the same problem, to do away with this arrangement and instead:
- Either have men and women in the same lanes as in most of world (with strict enforcement of penalties against molesters and gropers)
- Or have equal numbers of alternating lines for men and women.
- And if segregation is absolutely essential, it's simple - corral the men (the molesting offenders, in this schema) into the 2 far-off lanes and let women have the close-by 8-10 lanes. Women are after all, carrying more and doing more - they deserve shorter lines, if those lines must be separate.
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