Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu offers a model that Pakistani cities can learn from when it comes to making public spaces safer for women. As someone from Karachi, I am all too familiar with the fear and caution that comes with walking in public spaces. However, my visit to Kathmandu gave me a different perspective.
I found that walking in Kathmandu was such a pleasure due to the city’s culture and history. The bustling markets and vibrant nightlife scene felt familiar to me, but what made them different was the absence of the intrusive male gaze and the freedom to stroll while holding hands. The feeling of increased safety while walking in the city, especially at night, was noteworthy. Conversations with locals and a young journalist revealed that robust legal frameworks, effective law enforcement, and frequent police patrols played a significant role in making Kathmandu safe for women.
Although there have been isolated cases of harassment, the overall safety in Kathmandu stood out to me. This experience made me question why Pakistani cities cannot offer the same sense of security and freedom in public spaces for women. It’s evident that Kathmandu’s approach to ensuring safety and security can serve as a valuable lesson for cities in Pakistan.