Access to Public Space

~ Written by Mateen Ansari

As from the name it is clear that we are going to talk about “Public Space”. So thinking about this the first question that comes to the mind is does all the public in the society gets access to public space? Does both male and female get equal rights on public space?

Considering our day to day life the things we notice when we step out of our home are boys playing different games like cricket, football or whatever they wish in our locality. They make plans on holidays to meet up and go to the ground to play with their friends. Further when we move out of our locality we see men sitting on the street corners having tea and snacks and gossiping with their friends related to any topic to spend their time. You see more number of men working in every stores and shops to meet their financial needs as compared to the numbers of women.

After all these doesn’t this thought come to your mind that why you don’t see any girl playing in the ground between the boys or women sitting in the street corners having sipping their tea and spending their leisure time with their friends rather than staying between the four walls and managing household, doing chores and taking care of the family. Even if they step out of their home it is mostly for the purpose of buying groceries or accompanying their kid to schools and tuitions.

Why is that women can’t play in public spaces? Who is responsible for this? Do women themselves not want to play or we men have got a birth right on public spaces that we don’t agree to share our playground or other places? Why is it that women hesitates to go out and ask for their right on the public space? Are we men so dangerous that they don’t even come out to play with us? We still ask questions if our sister or any women asks us to go out, but do we treat the men and the boys of our house the same way? Why is there the only need to ask questions with women and girls of the house and the boys can do whatever they wish to without restrictions?

Regarding this, I interviewed some women of Mumbra who don’t want their names to be known. In this interview I asked them Why aren’t women seen on the playground? don’t they want to play like boys in the ground? To this question they said. “Who doesn’t wants to play, we too want to play outside but it has been a mindset coming from generations that women when small can play but only outside their house when they are not grown ups once they grow up their responsibility is to look after house and they can’t go outside without family for what will the society think if they saw the girl of the house going outside without family.” When I asked them why don’t they try to get out and claim their right. So one of the women said “Because of the family restrictions and also because we have accepted our fate that has been from generations that it is the place only meant for boys and not for us. “We need to ask all these questions to ourselves and the society, why can’t women have the same right as men on these public spaces? The mindset of our society restricts women to step out in the open and do things according to their will. Why is it that only boys and men are seen taking control of the public space?

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