Separate metro cars for women

Mexico City provides separate metro cars for women

Picture of women only signA large orange barrier announces, “Only Women and children under 12 years old.” In Mexico, the transportation system gives women the option of separate metro cars. The all-women’s section is blocked off by a glass partition. A woman near the barriers said it was for the safety of the women. Later a man said the metro gets too crowded, and women did not feel comfortable with the unavoidable body contact with men. The hotel check in agent said she opted not to ride the separate metro cars for women because she once faced a very crowded line of women and when the doors open the women aggressively pushed into the cars.

Personal Note: As my first time on the Mexico City metro and the very first time with observing separate metro cars for women, I consciously observed the mostly male car of riders. The air was tense. Some men look down at the floor in a show of passiveness, others looking around showing dominance, it was a unique first time metro experience. I am curious to know if I will have this same observation the next I ride the metro in Mexico City.

Are separate metro cars for women common practice?

Apparently, this practice has been in place in Japan since 1912. The women-only cars have also been implemented at various times in India, Egypt, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, https://goo.gl/m4xhcc. While some countries are calling for the implementation of separate metro cars for women, Brazil did away with the separate cars in September 1997, under threats of a lawsuit based on article 5 of the Brazilian Constitution which guarantees equality among citizens. Other countries such as the UK and Taiwan discontinued the practice because of similar legal reason of ‘gender discrimination’.
The primary reasons cited for separate metro cars for women is due to sexual harassment and groping. Some other countries implement the practice due to religious sensitivity.

Some countries implement the women-only into all public transportation, which include buses and taxi women drivers.

Questions:

  1. Are separate metro cars for women a step backwards in women’s equality?
  2. Is the implementation of separate metro cars for women an avoidance of a bigger social issue, lack of common respect?
  3. Should U.S cities implement separate metro cars for women?

 

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