Nupur Saraswat was left rattled and stranded on Hyderabad’s streets, thanks to Hotel Deccan’s sexist policy.

Its 2017 and single women still not allowed Hyderabad hotel denies room to womanImage credit: Facebook/Nupur Saraswat
news Gender bias Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 18:16

Being singled out is something unmarried women are often forced to deal with. Apart from the social stigma that single women have to navigate on an everyday basis, discrimination and sexism often rears its ugly head when it comes to finding accommodation in India.  

On Saturday, Nupur Saraswat, a 22-year-old, artist from Singapore, who has been travelling around India, found herself without a roof over her head in Hyderabad. Despite having a confirmed reservation, Hotel Deccan at Erragada denied her accommodation on the grounds that “single women travellers are not allowed to stay in this hotel”.

Left rattled and stranded by the hotel’s ‘policy’, Nupur took to Facebook to narrate the incident.

“So, I am standing outside a hotel in Hyderabad which didn't let me stay because they realized I was a "single lady" even after confirming the online booking. Yup, massive bag in hand, gross from the journey - just standing outside the hotel. Somehow they decided I was safer on the streets than in the hotel. Funny huh, how patriarchy works?”

The young artist had made her reservation through Goibibo, an online hotels aggregator.

Speaking to TNM, Nupur says, “What kind of policy is that? Now a woman has to depend on someone for their travels? When I asked the manager, he simply said, it is for my own safety, who are they to decide? Moreover, I blame, Goibibo, as they should have been more responsible. What if I landed here at 11pm,”

Calling out the hotel for its blatant discrimination, she observes, “As a woman I have all the right to travel alone. This policy is sexist.” Pointing out that more women are traveling alone, she says that websites like Goibibo should filter hotels that discriminate against single women.

“They should provide a filter where women can see the hotels which have such policies,” Nupur argues.

After her post on Facebook and Twitter was shared by several people, the Goibibo team reached out to Nupur and apologised for the inconvenience that was caused.

“They have also assured that, they will introduce a filter option for the hotels, they even said that either the company will not partner with such hotels or they will alert the customer at the time of booking,” she adds.

Nupur has also been offered a complimentary stay at a different hotel for the duration of her stay in Hyderabad.

Thanking those who came out in her support on social media, she wrote on Facebook, “You guys did this. You made a corporation listen, you took us a miniscule step closer to making solo travel a little easier for women in India. But of course, there are also those who have tried to silence this by asking ‘why are you making a fuss if it's clearly stated in the policy?’. Well I am making a fuss because I am not ready to settle. I am not ready to live in the fear of my safety anymore. I am not ready to have an entire system push me around until I ‘find a man to travel with’. I AM NOT READY TO BE CHAPERONED.”

Jameela Nishat, a Hyderabad-based woman’s rights activist argues that the ‘safety for women’ excuse is the patriarchal world’s way to control a woman’s freedom and movement.

 “This is not just a hotel, but you will find these kind of instances everywhere in the city. In the name of safety and culture, society has been controlling the freedom of women. By saying ‘this is for women's safety’ the hotel has judged the character of a woman who is traveling alone,” says Jameela Nishat.

She also notes that, as the government has failed to provide safety in the country, the patriarchal society thinks a woman always need a bodyguard to protect her.

“Women who are bold and independent are a threat to society. People need to change their mentality towards women. Now women do not need a man or friend to travel, she can go anywhere, but society will target her and judge her character as she is alone,” Jameela adds.

Also read: Meal time misogyny: Why do women in Hyd have to sit in the 'family section'?