In a bid to empower its women staff to be the custodians of their own safety, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is preparing to teach it women employees, especially conductors, self-defence courses.
According to officials, the intensive practical training of karate, judo, martial arts, gender sensitization, self-assertiveness, legal knowledge, counselling skills, and public speaking will be given to its employees.
There are more than 3,000 women employees including conductors in BMTC. Officials said that a total of 42 hours of self-defence training will be held in a period of 21 days and each session will be 120 minutes long.
The BMTC, in a press release, said that sexual harassment of women in public spaces and at the workplace is daunting in magnitude as it plagues half of humanity. It said that the problem is undeniably acute, with women grappling with street sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence on a daily basis.
“There are instances where women staff of the BMTC who work as conductors and security personnel are also at the receiving end of such unacceptable behaviour from commuters as well as from their male colleagues,” the press releases said.
It said that the BTMC, as an organisation, would like to make a meaningful intervention to address the problem by facilitating gender sensitisation training for all staff and self-defence training for its all-women staff.
“The course content will be practically oriented such that women of all ages and fitness may adopt the techniques taught. It will be based on typical threatening scenarios that may encounter in everyday life and easy techniques to extricate themselves out of such situations using simple defensive and offensive moves,” it added
The decision by the BMTC was well received by its staff, especially the women employees.
“It’s great news that the department is taking an initiative to teachers self-defence skills because we have faced such instances many times and there are people who come and misbehave with us,” Jayamala, a conductor in the BMTC, said.
Nasreen, another conductor who has been working in the BMTC for over seven years, said that women staffers are often worried about their safety on duty.
“We were worried when people behave with us. While issuing tickets or asking for change, often we face difficulties with some people. This is a commendable move by the department. We must learn something that can help us to defend ourselves,” she said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)