South Indian states have marked their place as the top women-friendly cities in the country, according to a recent study by Avtar Group. The rankings were given in regard with ease of living, safety, inclusive organisations, and industries. Based on a year-long exercise and data collection, the group finally released the study titled "Top Cities for Women in India," and unsurprisingly, southern and western cities dominated the list for being women-friendly. Cities from Tamil Nadu ranked highest in both categories - cities with more than a million population and less than a million population.
South Leading The Charts
The United Nations (UN) defines women-friendly cities as those that provide their women population with proper access to "health, education, employment opportunities, urban, social services, and a safe environment." Based on this understanding, the Avatar Group (a diversity, equity, and inclusion solutions firm) released a report on the top women-friendly cities in India. The study arrived at a comprehensive City Inclusion Score (CIS) after analysing the current ease of living index, the national census, the Periodic Labour Force Survey, crime records, the National Family and Health Survey, the International Monetary Fund, Ministry of Women & Child Development's annual report, as well as Avtar's primary research with employer organisations and women.
The CIS, given on the basis of the year-long study, saw Chennai top the list with a score of 78.41, followed by Pune and Bengaluru. Even in cities with less than a million, the state of Tamil Nadu dominated as women-friendly, with Tiruchirappalli, Vellore, Erode, Salem, and Tiruppur, as the top five cities. The report stated that "this is a clear indication that the cities in the state fare comparatively better on livability." It further adds that the impact of the same could have permeated to the index, along with the industrial inclusiveness which employed numerous women. Other than Tamil Nadu, the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana also made it to the top with high inclusive rankings.
Telangana's Hyderabad ranked fourth in the list of Top 25 women-friendly cities having more than one million population. Meanwhile, Kerala state scored the highest state average of 55.67. Overall, the Southern region scored an average of 46.17, and the West scored 41.13. Commenting on the rankings, Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president of Avtar Group, said, "The fact that the South and West regions are more women-friendly in terms of employment is not a surprise, given the politico-historic context of these regions." A report by the New Indian Express stated that the cities like Hubli, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, and Coimbatore had risen the ranks as promising hubs of women's employment in recent times with their high Industrial Inclusion Scores.
The Northern And Eastern Dilemma
While the southern states placed promising data on the holistic growth of women, with about eight cities among the top ten cities for women in India, the metropolitan cities of Delhi and Kolkata fell behind in social inclusion due to lower safety standards and poor enablers for women to pursue employment. The National Capital (Delhi) did not make it to the Top 10 list with a CIS of 41.36, more than 30 points less than the top-ranking city. In terms of CIS, while southern cities marked the top three places, it was followed shortly by Maharashtra (from the West) and Himachal Pradesh (from the North). North Indian cities ranked third in average scores, with 36.03, followed by Central India at 31.17 and Eastern India at 29.43.
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