Girls in Delhi are willing to choose an academically worse college if it means travelling by a route that is perceived to be safer. They are also willing to fork out almost Rs 20,000 more per year than boys and spend 40 minutes longer on their daily commute if it meant less harassment. These are the conclusions of a World Bank study by economist Girija Borker.
The study, that surveyed 4,000 Delhi University students, also found that over 89% women had faced some form of harassment while traveling in the city. Half had faced inappropriate comments while 40% have been touched, groped, or grabbed.
This kind of rampant street harassment has taken its toll on the choices women make. The study found that women are willing to give up a college that ranks in the top 20% for a lower ranked college purely because they value safety. Borker, who is in the impact evaluation unit of the Development Research Group (DECRG) at the World Bank, also found that women are willing to spend Rs 18,800 more per year than men for a route that is perceived to be safe.
‘’This is a significant sum of money, double the average annual tuition at DU and 6.7% of the average annual per capita income in Delhi,’’ she writes. While women were willing to travel an additional 40 minutes daily to stay safe, men are only willing to increase their travel time by four minutes.