India’s richest women feel unsafe in public transport and cinemas

Mumbai: India’s richest girls and young women, aged 11 to 18, felt the least safe among all income groups in public spaces, according to a new report that explored safety perceptions among adolescent girls. According to the new study titled ‘Wings 2018: World Of India’s Girls’, across urban (47 %) and rural (40%) areas, young girls felt more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport.

The study

  • Conducted in six states: Assam, Delhi-NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal.
  • Surveyed across 30 cities and 84 villages in 12 districts.
  • The sample included 3,128 adolescent girls, 1,141 young men (aged 15-18), 248 young women (aged 19-22) forced to marry early, and 842 parents of adolescent girls.
  • The selected states performed worst on: child sex ratio; incidence of crime against women; early marriage; spousal violence against women; and working women.

Abuse while using public transport

  • 47% young girls across urban areas reported feeling more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport
  • 40% Young girls across rural areas reported feeling more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport
  • This finding was particularly true for girls from higher income groups –53%

Why greater fear among girls of higher income groups: These girls lead a cocooned life without required level of resilience & so feel more threatened.

Small town girls feel more insecure

  • 51% Girls from medium and small towns reported feeling unsafe than those in large cities.
  • 44% Girls from large cities said that they feel unsafe.
  • 42% Girls from small villages said that they feel unsafe.
  • 39% Girls from large villages said that they feel unsafe.

Other Most unsafe places

  • Public transportation.
  • Narrow roads leading to the school.
  • Local markets or private tuition.
  • Cinema hall.
  • 28% Young women from large cities said they felt unsafe in cinema halls.
  • Reason: These girls fear that their complaints may go unheard in a place occupied by the relatively better-placed class wise and caste-wise.

Less than half of girls play in parks

  • 20% Girls from urban areas felt they could safely play in a public park or go for a morning walk
  • 41% Young girls from urban India perceived a higher risk of molestation in crowded public places.
  • 42% Here too, young women from higher and middle-economic classes reported a higher perception of risk.

Trust deficit over policing & judiciary

Mother: Most reliable person to report molestation besides father, close friends and peers.

Teachers and police: Reported as the least reliable persons to report molestation besides siblings.


  1. ‘Most of them were against going to the police because the police were considered insensitive. The process involves a lot of time and resources and damages the reputation of the girl.
  2. The second-most reported reason for not confiding in their families was fear of retribution.
  • 49% Urban girls avoided confiding in families because they feared restrictions.
  • 36% Rural girls felt the same.
  • 44% Urban adolescent girls and 38% rural girls felt they would be scolded for letting’ themselves be harassed.
  • 50% Or more parents agreed that they would ‘probably end up scolding their daughters’ for ‘letting’ sexual harassment occur.
  • 42% Parents admitted they were likely to regulate their daughters’ movement in public spaces thereafter.