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Lesons from Women's Safety Initiatives in South Asia

28 Jan 2015, 14:30 UTC
Lesons from Women's Safety Initiatives in South Asia
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There is an interesting article in the January issue of the Harvard Magazine on women's safety in South Asia that got me thinking about broader implications. The article was written by Rohini Pande, a public policy professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is titled "Keeping Women Safe".We have all seen the shocking headlines about gang rape in India. These cases are getting international publicity and a lot of attention in India. Prime Minister Modi mentioned the subject in his Independence Day speech, saying "Today when we hear about these rapes, our heads hang in shame". Many different efforts are underway to address this crisis. The article reviews them and comes to some noteworthy conclusions.One obvious way to deal with criminal behavior is to pass new laws. This has been done in India, but the efforts have generally not produced a safer environment for women. The laws increase the penalties for rape convictions, even allowing for the death penalty, but have led to a backlash. Women are increasingly subject to peer pressure to not press charges that result in extended incarceration or death of men in their village or neighborhood. In some cases, local laws are passed to counter or ...

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