Demand for women-only public transport rising globally
Editor’s note: This saddens me greatly, not only for the indignities, affronts, and dangers suffered by women in these cases, because somewhere out there must be a better solution than this.
121 years ago for the first time, and only as a long, hard and for the most part lonely fight, did women gain the right to vote as full equals in New Zealand — and it has taken more than a century for women to be able to exercise full voting rights in all but a handful of countries in the world. It has been a long and hard battle, and one is not sure that such measures as discussed in this article are really a step in the right direction.
Complex problems in complex systems tend to resist single solutions.
Selected Extracts from article
Trains, buses and taxis for women only are on the rise in cities globally with a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey finding women feel safer on single-sex transport – but gender experts dismissing this as a band-aid solution that could backfire for women.
A poll of nearly 6,300 women in 15 of the world’s largest capitals and in New York, the most populous city in the US, found about 70% of women said they would feel safer in single-sex areas on buses and trains.
Manila in the Philippines was the city where women were most in favour of single-sex transport, backed by more than nine in 10 women, or 94%, followed by Jakarta in Indonesia, Mexico City and Delhi in India.
By contrast women in New York saw the least need for such a move, with only 35% support, followed by women in Moscow, London and Paris.
The survey of an average of about 400 women in each city, conducted online by YouGov, comes as more cities introduce women-only transport and taxi companies catering only for women emerge in cities ranging from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur to New York.
Gender and city planning experts raised concerns over the effectiveness of women-only transport.
“I think that it’s incredibly insulting to the vast majority of men but it is also failing female passengers not to tackle the problem at its root,” said Laura Bates, founder of the anti-harassment Everyday Sexism Project in London.
The world’s largest capital, Tokyo, was one of the first, from 2000, to introduce women-only cars on trains to stop women being abused.
It has been followed by Mexico City and Jakarta, among others, while some, like London, are mulling the idea.
The trend to offer women-only transport as well as more police on patrol and off-beat solutions such as anti-groping gloves in Japan comes as reports of women being abused rise and studies link safe transport to female economic empowerment.
But Julie Babinard, senior transport specialist from the World Bank, said women-only carriages were a short-term fix and not a panacea for harassment of women.
“The emerging interest in several countries in women-only initiatives should be seen as an opportunity for improving security in cities but not as a silver bullet for dealing with gender-based violence in transportation and urban settings,” said Babinard.
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Bio: Britton is an American political scientist and sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest book, "BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City" focuses on the subject of environment, equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions. A pre-publication edition of Better Choices is currently undergoing an international peer review during Sept.- Oct. 2017, with the goal of publication in English and Chinese editions by end-year. If you wish to participate drop a line to BetterChoices@ecoplan.org .