How Civic Activism Made Uber up Its Safety Game

How Civic Activism Made Uber up Its Safety Game


There’s a lot of reasons to be excited in India these days. Our economy is getting back on track—standing out against other emerging economies. More of our children are attending school than ever before. Even Hindi television shows are becoming more innovative and entertaining.

For Badal Ja!, probably the most exhilarating thing happening in India these days is the growing activism that average, everyday citizens are playing to make this a safer, more gender just society. In September, we saw hundreds of protesters boycott Ginger Restaurant in Kolkata after the restaurant refused entry to Suzette Jordan because she was a rape victim. Ginger’s Zomato rating plummeted as a result, making a permanent online record of their discriminatory decision.

In October, activists from all over Kerala decided to protest against a series of moral policing incidents by organizing the The Kiss of Love, a massive kiss campaign in public spaces. The movement spread to cities across the country and gained support from over 1.5 million people on Facebook.

In December, after an Uber driver in Delhi allegedly raped a woman passengers, thousands of citizens launched a petition demanding that Uber institute background checks for its drivers. Supporters declared victory when, this week, Uber responded to the petition and instituted background checks as well as several other policies and features to improve security for its customers.

This contagious enthusiasm to improve safety and gender justice in India shows no sign of diminishing. Indeed, it is getting stronger every day. So three cheers for an ever-growing engagement of our citizens. This is the democracy we’re all calling for!