10 Things Every Woman in Mumbai Must Know
As Mumbai's pavements breathe the heaviness of over 11 million footsteps, it's often easy to forget the wonder-women who bring the 'city of dreams to life'. Here are 10 things you need to know, that nobody told you, if you're a woman living in Mumbai.
1. Female Taxi Services
We've tried the popular cab companies Uber and Ola, but after recent news reports regarding the alleged sexual assaults perpetrated by their drivers, it is only natural to think twice before you request a cab. Alternatively, companies like Viira Cabs and Priyadarshini Taxi have intiated taxi services operated by women, for women. They promise safety and convenience as you ride through the city. Though not as popular as their competitors, they also create a positive social impact by training female drivers and help them gain financial independence.
2. Bharatiya Malliya Bank Loans
Being a woman entrepreneur is hard, especially when industries are still inevitably male-dominated - not everyone can pull off the infamous Clinton pantsuit at board meetings. However, female entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their businesses should learn about Bharatiya Malliya Bank's women-centric loans. The institution offers micro-credit loans to women in order to alleviate the stresses and difficulties associated with being a woman in enterprise, "helping [you] unleash [your] potential" through not only financing capital, but also through affiliations with NGOs and Micro-Finance Institutions. With their support, you know you're one step closer to being your very own #GirlBoss!
3. TREAD Scheme
The Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises also recognises that Indian women "have been among the most disadvantaged and oppressed section of our country with regard to access to and control over resources" - which is why they've initiated the Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development Scheme for Women. The program provides aid in the form of grants, loans, training, and counselling (among other things), and helps women kick-start and grow as entrepreneurs.
4. Mumbai Police's Safety App If you are still to crawl through the Mumbai Police's Twitter feed, then you're missing out on some serious laughs. You'd also be overlooking the dedication the city's great men in brown have for women's safety; they're always looking for innovative ways to ensure our women feel secure and protected, and their new app does exactly that! Named Pratisaad, the app allows users to press an "Emergency" icon to alert on-duty policemen along with a senior inspector at the nearest police station when in danger.
Don't worry if you aren't connected to data, there are a plethora of hotline numbers that you probably haven't heard of, if you ever feel unsafe. Save the numbers of the list below to make sure you're always prepared.
* Mumbai Police:103
* Women in distress:1091
* BEST Bus Harrassment:1800227550
6. All-Female Shows
There is no doubt that Mumbai's arts and culture scene, is its heartbeat. The city's spirit comes to life when the curtains open on its beautiful plays and the drums start banging at its music festivals, so it is not surprising that our talented women want in on the action. Enjoy some of the best all-female productions in the city - whether it is the satirical Vagina Monologues, the emotional Hum Paanch, or the classical Women of Rhythm, which features some of the first and finest female classical musicians in India.
Nothing says women empowerment more than women doing it for themselves! Pioneering grassroots movements to bring positive change to their communities, is truly the embodiment of Mumbai's She Says. Founded by Trisha Shetty, She Says seeks to mobilise the city's youth to actively participate in the fight against gender discrimination. They're always looking for interns or volunteers to donate their time and skill set, so if you're interested in addressing sexual violence in India and in making Mumbai a safer space, you may have found your calling.
8. HarassMap Mumbai
Although, Mumbai is known to be one of the safest cities in India, sexual assault continues to be prevalent, and HarassMap Mumbai is a platform that sources anonymous reports of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces, maps these instances in order to indicate local trends. It's quite a daunting ordeal to view the soaring rates of assault just down the street from us, but the website helps Mumbai's brave survivors convene in solidarity through reading about other women's experiences, and filing their own personal stories.
9. Vacha Resource Centre The Vacha Resource Centre "advocates for girls and women by participating in various networks and campaigns, organising seminars, and [through producing] publications" in Mumbai and across Maharashtra. But what makes Vacha unique, are the events they organise, through the year, centred around gender, health and human rights. You can also volunteer your time or donate to help make a change.
10. DNA iCan Women's Half Marathon As the 2016 Olympics have shown us, Indian women have some incredible athletic ability. Prove your mettle too, by participating in DNA's annual Women's Half Marathon, which brings together women of all ages, for a day of fierce speed and stamina. Beginners can choose to do a five kilometre run, but if you're up for the challenge, you can even compete with the big dogs in the twenty-one kilometre run.