The Punjab government will mark the International Women's Day on Sunday in a unique way by reserving a stretch of the main road in every district for the fair sex from 7 p.m. on Saturday to 1 a.m. the next day.
Punjab Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Development Aruna Chaudhary said the state is ensuring that the streets are safe for women and girls and their participation in economic activities could be increased.
Women should not be stopped from taking up jobs that require them to travel after dark. Thus, embracing the theme #Reclaim Public Spaces, her department has decided that International Women's Day should be celebrated in a novel way.
She said that from 7 p.m. on March 7 till 1 a.m. on March 8, at least 6 km stretch of an arterial road in all district headquarters and major towns would be reserved only for women of all age groups.
The minister said the activities on the road will include walk, run, cycling, dance for a cause, impromptu flash dances, human chain and signature scroll, among others, to highlight the need for a gender-sensitive world in which no girl or woman suffers abuse or assault of any kind.
Besides, vibrant food stalls and showcasing women's enterprises along the well lit-up roads will be among the events lined up for the day.
"If some women start using the streets after dark for work, leisure, recreation or fitness, more and more women will be encouraged to come out and reclaim those public spaces that were hitherto closed to them, despite their being equal citizens," Chaudhary said, adding "If such activities are held regularly, a culture of safe and bustling streets will be ushered in."
She also said that all the district officials have been asked to ensure maximum participation of women and girls, including students, employees of private establishments, staff of call centres, doctors, engineers, teachers and role models.
The minister said on that day, the men could join only at both ends of the road. They will take a pledge to be gender-sensitive and work in tandem with women to make the world a better and safer place.