Delhi girls choose safety quotient over college ranking: points Sunita Reddy

In July, speaking at the release of a report on child marriage in India, Sunita Reddy, professor at JNU’s Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health had pointed out, that while educating girls can lower the risk of child marriages, often parents are reluctant to educate their daughters and prefer to have them married off at an early age because they fear that “some oonch-neech would happen to the girl.

A recent study by development economist Girija Borker, published on November 3, would suggest that the hurdle of unsafe public spaces and the fear of harassment in the path of women’s education exist not just in rural areas, as commonly perceived, but even in the national capital.


Borker conducted a study in and gathered data from 40 Delhi University colleges to measure “the extent to which perceived risk of street harassment can help explain women’s college choices in Delhi.”

The study titled ‘Safety First: Perceived Risk of Street Harassment and Educational Choices of Women’ analysed the college choices made by 4,000 girls of the city.

“Women are willing to attend a college that is 13.04 percentage points lower in quality than the institution they are eligible for, if they feel the journey will be safer. This is equivalent to choosing a college that is 8.5 ranks lower,” the study said.


“Men, on the other hand, are willing to attend a college that is only 1.37 percentage points (or 0.9 ranks) lower in quality,” it said. The research scholar also pointed out in the study that girls are willing to spend more on travelling to colleges to ensure the safety aspect than boys. “Girls are willing to travel as much as 40 minutes more for a safer journey, whereas boys will increase their travel time by just four minutes for the same reason,” the study said.

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