Hotels should not be allowed to deny entry based on regressive policies
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Being a single woman comes with a very heavy price tag.. that of your safety as I was recently made to realise
I am Nupur Saraswat, a 22-year-old spoken word artist and this is my story:
On the morning of 24th June 2017 I arrived at a hotel in Hyderabad. I had been traveling from Bangalore by a bus over night, so I was looking to taking some rest in my room before going to my performance venue in the evening.
However when I reached the hotel, I could sense the discomfort of the all-male staff on account of my presence.
Ignoring these vibes I went ahead and showed my online booking confirmation to the receptionist.
I was asked if someone else was joining me later to which I said no. To my horror I was told that it could not be allotted a room since the hotel policy did not allow single women to stay alone in the hotel rooms.
I tried to make sense of it all, tried to reason with the receptionist, made some phone calls, tried everything I could but the conclusion was that my booking and the money paid for the room was not to be honored.
Thankfully for me it was 11am in the morning and I somehow managed to come out the situation. But I shudder to think what would have happened if it was 11pm in the night and I was a stranger to the city with no friends around to help me out
Mine is not an isolated case. No room for single women. No room for unmarried couples. No room for locals. We have heard many such excuses by hotels to deny entry to innocent and helpless people
These aren't policies sanctioned by law, instead they come under the misused clause "right to reserve entry into a private property at management's discretion".
Today it is me, tomorrow it could be any one of us. These regressive policies affect all of us and have large scale implications.
It could mean a domestic violence survivor running away from an abusive home will not be given shelter in a cheap hotel just because she is alone or maybe because she is a local resident.
Women’s safety cannot be only about eve teasing, molestation or rape. It is also about making spaces safe and available.
It’s time the Hotel Association of India intervenes in the matter and puts an end to this unfair and discriminatory policy
Even Hotel aggregators like Goibibo, Makemytrip and OYO through which a majority of hotel bookings are done should take a stand and filter out such hotels
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