Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kicked out of McDonalds... Always a first!

I finally launched my research last week... and it was not without a few hiccups. The last two weeks I have been preparing a survey and talking to a lot of people about women's safety in India and the more I talked to people, the more I heard how horribly dangerous it is for women to be out alone in Delhi. I am in Mumbai right now which is considered if not the safest then one of the safest cities in India. I have been out late for movies and feel very safe even when it is just one other girlfriend with me. However, even after saying that I still wouldn't go on the public transportation alone, especially at night, but I know many Indian women have to commute back from work at night, often alone. One of my Indian friends from Delhi said she didn't feel safe walking out alone or taking public transportation after 8pm... that means going out to meet your friends for dinner, meeting them at the movie theater or just stopping by.. you name it, it wouldn't happen unless everything was organized so that you were directly picked up and dropped off at your own house by a trusted friend. As a very independent and active woman, I know how difficult that would be for me. So, for my research project, I decided to try and measure just how unsafe men and women from Mumbai and Delhi really feel. I want to understand why these two Indian cities have such different ratings when it comes to women's safety, and what are some things that Indians believe need to change in order to see some positive results.

I created a short 12 survey in English, Hindi, and Marathi. Last week I went to one of the popular malls to test out peoples reactions to the survey and see if there was any confusion to any of the questions. I went around asking people to take my survey and finally decided I needed to find some kind of restaurant where people were sitting so that it would be easier to fill out the survey... so I picked  a very packed McDonalds. I quickly got people filling out my survey, surprised that my plan was working so well! I quickly passed out, collected, and chatted with some of the families taking my survey. These nice teenage girls really got into it and sat busily writing a paragraph for each question. I continued with my mission until an intimidating McDonalds employee strode up to me and asked me what I was doing. As he stood a little to close for comfort I explained calmly that I was taking surveys for a university research project. He asked if I had permission from McDonalds to do so, a rhetorical question in my mind, and I answered no. He said he was sorry but he was going to have to rip up all the surveys that were taken in the restaurant. I protested loudly especially as he collected the surveys covered in writing by the teenage girl I had previously chatted too, and a few other employees started moving me towards the door. I tried everything I could think of... I really wanted to keep and use those surveys! I stood outside feeling defeated and trying to decide my next move. Then suddenly a few minutes later, the same teenage girl who spent so much time filling out my survey came running out with all of the surveys in her hand. She shoved them into my chest and with a nervous smile said, "RUN"! I didn't ask any questions but with a relieved and excited smile I shouted 'thank you' over my shoulder and took off jogging to a crowded store. I have no idea how she was able to get the surveys, and I doubt she stole them, but I can't be sure. Either way I definitely enjoyed reading the 20 or so surveys that I got that day... basking in the sweat and struggle that emanated from every written word on those surveys. As much as I enjoyed the excitement of the day, I knew I wouldn't be able to do that every time if I wanted to reach my goal of 100 participants. Its suffice to say I have now created an online version for my survey. If you have any friends from, or that live in Mumbai and Delhi, please share my survey! I will take less than 5 minutes!

Mumbai =

Delhi =

1 comment:

  1. Haha, love it. You could probably get away with passing out links to the survey at restaurants and malls, and posting them in public transit areas. May also be worth your while to seek prior approval from management or an owner to do your survey, but at somewhere less corporate than McDonalds.