By Jessica Parker, MPIA ’13
One thing that I am constantly asked, in addition to what I want to do, is where I want to go once I’m finished with graduate school. I don’t know the answer yet, but after being in New Delhi, India for a little over two weeks, I will be happy to just visit again. New Delhi is a vibrant, interesting, and intense city, and I greatly enjoyed my time there. However, I don’t think that Delhi, at the very least, is somewhere that I would be able to live.
One of the hardest things in India was being a female. Growing up in the United States, and being treated on an equal level as men, it was quite a shock to being treated differently just because I’m a woman. In restaurants, it is assumed that the men will order for the women, or if we go out in public, it was infinitely safer to have a guy with us, just in case. I have trouble with the idea of not being able to go out alone or being ignored as I wait in line, just because of my gender.
We went to India only a couple weeks after the gang-rape of an upper caste woman caught international attention. Many in the group attended the protests, imploring Indian authorities to take action against the rapists. India is known for having lax rape and trafficking laws, but the attention and pressure from the international community has begun to have effects in Delhi. Our bus was pulled over one afternoon, with authorities claiming it was the tinted windows, but mostly questioning why there were so many females inside. I applaud India and the authorities for starting to take greater action, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t go away once the pressure is off. I sincerely hope that India moves towards equality for women and providing their safety, but I cannot say that I want to be there for the transition.
So while I loved visiting India, and look forward to going back to visit someday, I highly doubt I could live there long term.