Women on the Street

"Gill Valentine’s research on adult versus youth spaces found that girls paradoxically identify public spaces, such as city streets, as “private,” because these spaces allow them anonymity away from the prying gaze of parents, teachers, and other caregivers. The home was strangely more like a public space, since girls didn’t feel a sense of privacy or control over their bedrooms and possessions here."


Leslie Kern, Feminist City



This poem is to the women

I encountered today—

The one I overheard complaining

of her tiring unending familial duties

The other who was distressed by

her abusive unemployed husband

They were safer outside

contrary to the popular beliefs

contrary to the rational beliefs

contrary to the obvious

This poem is to those invisible lines

women tread everyday

between home and the world

leaving no imprint behind.


This poem is to those women too

who claim spaces in public

The ones with their daughters

The ones with their female friends

The ones travelling alone

alongside other such women

The ones who squeeze their bodies

to let the other women sit or pass by

The ones who sighed along my sigh

waiting for the next train

They are widening lenses of womanhood

with their lived experiences

with their daily routines

with their desires

This poem is to those spaces shaped

as women consume them

as a young mother, an old teen,

as a worker, a caregiver, as a female with places to be.



Bithika Halder (she/her) is a writer/dreamer from the suburbs of Kolkata. Her writings look for the patterns and enormity in nuances of everyday lived experiences. In understanding beauty is how she finds purpose. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Economics from Jadavapur University. Her works can be found on Instagram @pathbetweenpoetry and Substack newsletter at https://bithika.substack.com/


Cover art: João Candido Portinari, Festival of Saint John