Women-only public transit: Regressive or dreamy?

women only train

In what has shown itself to be a fairly controversial move, British Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn has proposed women-only carriages on trains in the UK. How utterly regressive! some have shrieked. Others have called the suggestion an insult to men or “draconian”:

My immediate response to this suggestion was Good god at last. I have been using public transit to get around in the city since I was a child. I continue to take the bus almost every day, as an adult, and every single day it is stressful. Not because I am a snob who can’t stand to be around people or babies or because I’m in such a hurry that I can’t handle the slow pace (I don’t know how to drive so the alternative to public transit is walking, which I also do every single day, but is no faster than the bus)… In fact, were I able to actually relax on the bus, I would thoroughly enjoy it — Yet another opportunity to listen to the Swag Triumphant playlist on Songza catch up on my podcasts! Perfect. But the bus is never relaxing and the reason for that is singular: Men.

While the idea of sex-segregated transit might initially bring to mind a culture or period in time that fully bought into gendered stereotypes (commentary involving the Taliban abounds…) in a “men can’t control themselves when in our presence, keep them away lest they accidentally rape us” or a “women are delicate flowers who need protection from the world around them” kind of way, the reality is that the suggestion kind of makes sense…

In a policy consultation document on public transport Corbyn wrote: “Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women-only train carriages.”

Harassment on public transit is so routine there are entire websites devoted to sharing women’s stories. Alternatively, you can just read the news. Sexual assaults on transit are not abnormal. When I get on the bus I choose to stand until a seat in a single seat “row” comes up because if I sit somewhere with an open seat next to me, inevitably some creep sits next to me (despite there being other available seats) and acts creepy until I reach my destination.

This is the reality. Which is not to say I don’t understand opposition to this idea.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper tweeted:

Others have noted that this kind of solution could actually provide space for victim blaming if a woman is harassed or assaulted on a mixed carriage:

These are fair points I agree with… But at the same time, if men aren’t going to let up on the lecherous, violent, creepy behaviour, shouldn’t we have the right to stay the fuck away from them? Wouldn’t it be nice if the basic things we do in our day to day lives, like going to school or work, weren’t cause for anxiety simply because men are unwilling to behave like respectful human beings?

I’ll admit I’m torn, despite my excitement at the idea of dick-free public transit (I mean that both literally and figuratively). It is very clearly a band-aid solution that doesn’t actually, truly address the problem of male violence against women. At the same time, there are many situations where “women-only” works…

I love women-only gyms. I wish all gyms had at least a women-only section — it is the section I use every single time, no contest, if there is the option. I refuse to go to male-dominated gyms. My friends all say the same. If there were women-only swims, I would eagerly start swimming again. I stopped swimming laps because stubborn men refuse to move into the slow lane despite being passed over and over again. If you swim laps, surely you understand how stressful and tiring it is to continuously have to find space in the middle and speed up to pass someone, over and over again, because you’re always on their ass. I stopped enjoying and excelling in Phys Ed during high school after they switched us over to a co-ed class in Grade 11. Previous to that, it had been my favorite class.

The benefits of all girl schools are notable. I remember my mother wishing she could send me to one, purely because she’d read studies about the way young women thrived in male-free classrooms (girls schools in Vancouver are all private schools, and therefore not affordable for working class families). Now,  all girls schools don’t work because prudish parents can ensure their daughters remain “pure” for as long as possible (not how that works, nope). They work because girls thrive in classrooms where boys aren’t taking up all the space. All girls schools allow girls to participate in discussions, to gain confidence, to learn freely and without being sexually harassed. Once they graduate, women who attended all girls schools continue to excel. It isn’t about being sheltered from “the real world,” it’s about giving girls a chance.

Sex segregation isn’t always bad for girls and women. In fact, in certain circumstances it can be quite good. While I’m not interested in living entirely separate from men or in building a society that only allows men and women to commingle in the domestic sphere (we’ve seen how that hurts women more than it helps them), it also isn’t true that sex segregation is always a regressive idea. Particularly so long as men continue to make basic tasks like exercising, learning, and traveling hell just because they can.

Some argue it’s an “admission of defeat,” but ending male violence isn’t a “fake it till you make it” type scenario.

Pretending we feel comfortable being on public transit with men doesn’t make it so. Harassment and assault isn’t something women should just power through.

I mean, even if this isn’t the ideal solution, doesn’t it say something that we want it?

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • rips into labels

    A better solution would be carriages for men unaccompanied by women, where all men who are not with a woman are required to go, Then they should make those carriages the minority on the train. 🙂 Didn’t bars used to be divided this way — with a section for couples and a section just for men?

    • northernTNT

      Women fought very very very hard to eliminate female segregation in bars. I do not want to go backwards on this.

      • Sam Berg

        I hear that, however it’s not up to you to decide all women must remain on the front lines of men’s war against us.

        I’m a fighter, I accept radical feminism is an active challenge to male supremacy, but I can’t make that decision for every woman and some women need respite from constant assaults on their humanity.

        • northernTNT

          I do not think hiding provides respite… it only provides the certainty of future and existential victimhood. It does not allow to move forwards in life.

          • Sam Berg

            It’s not “hiding”, it’s ducking a punch. Hiding is not going out in public at all, something many women and girls choose because there is not a minute of respite for them in the public world.

            I was abused as a child, and at age 10 I spent a summer with distant relatives that changed my world by allowing me to see a future different from my terrible existence. Before then, a world in which I didn’t have to ask for permission before I ate anything seemed impossible. That summer of respite allowed me to move forward in life.

          • Eli Sheva

            ‘Hiding is not going out in public at all’: thank you, it was the point I was missing. I think you’re right, as many said here, some women just don’t have other alternative and it’s clearly not a solution to tell them ‘Well, too bad, stay at home!’ As assaults against women aren’t going to change within a day, it would be a complementary measure.

          • northernTNT

            So how are they going to get from their front door to that “safe wagon”? There is a whole world of violence out there. MOST of this violence happens by the hand of males that the females are intimately acquainted with not out in some public place.
            The idea of “securing” a wagon, or “securing” a drink in a bar, are attacking the wrong end of the violence spectrum, the least harmful, the least frequent end.
            What’s next, segregated sidewalks? Front and back seating on buses? People also used that excuse to segregate public spaces whites from blacks… security.

          • Eli Sheva

            I agree with you and at the same time I can’t resolve myself to let women who have not other choice but public transportation to be anxious or terrified. I see it as an emergency measure. I don’t see a perfect solution to male violence against women in public transportation, so I’m trying with difficulty to find the least worst (sorry if that’s not english, I don’t have a better word) solution. I think at this point it is what we’re trying to do here. Is the ‘least worst’ solution women-only carriages? Is it the worst one? Do we have to try it to figure it out? Is it too risky to give it a try?
            And again, I get your point.

          • northernTNT

            I too was an abused child… but a wagon is just a wagon, there is the whole rest of the the world.
            And letting segregation make a return to public life is letting males win, it is letting patriarchy go back to “ah those weak females need to be set aside”. This may help a few females feel better, but it is harmful to females as a class.

        • andeväsen

          How is a train carriage more in “the front line” than any other public space, or even any other confined public space? Women’s humanity is continually assaulted in every single setting we step foot into. Stairwells? Corridors? Lifts?

          Secondly, setting aside some women’s and some mixed carriages will necessarily create a divining line between categories of women, both in women’s eyes and in the eye of men. Where once there was hope of solidarity, now the inexhaustibly tropey madonna-whore complex will find a new home. Why is it up to you to decide that some women will be pushed deeper into the frontline of men’s war against us, rather than standing strong together?

    • Tangelo

      Way back when, watering holes had ‘men only’ and ‘ladies and escorts’ entrances. I think you can still see some of the old signage on those caverns of drink on E Hastings. Pure sexism informed this segregation. A “proper” female was considered one who would not visit such an establishment on her own. Only prostituted and women of low social status would go solo drinking. The Ladies and Escorts section was created to allow men to take female companions drinking without the risk of a hit to her (and ultimately his) reputation. Any woman who went into the ‘Men only’ section was at risk of being seen by the denizens as a prostitute, and kicked out by the barkeep for being a public nuisance. So, as far as segregating bars, nope, I would not want to go back to those good old days.

    • Tired feminist

      Although the result would be more or less the same, I find this solution somehow more fair. I mean, it’s not really women who have to be segregated. We aren’t the problem. The problem is the violence of MEN. If anyone has to be segregated, let it be the men, for once.

    • andeväsen

      This is an absolutely wonderful idea and well done for coming up with it. Unaccompanied adult males in a carriage. All others in the normal carriages.

  • Wendy Lev

    You can do both. Have women only spaces and tackle male violence against women. It doesnt exclude one another. I dont understand why some people think it does. Male violence isnt women’s responsibility (to solve). Its men’s. People say women should be free and safe. Yes, but we arent. Women have to be able to choose our safety. By saying we dont have to need women only spaces, that choice is taken away from us. So, Im all the way for self chosen women only spaces. Even when some/many women dont want to make use of it, it is there, and women can choose it and be free(er). Its silly how patriarchy is violent to women, makes us vulnerable, tells us we should make ourselves safe. Then when we want it, with women only spaces, that is protested. Its a way of controlling us further. Id say women only spaces are a way out of patriarchy. If even temporarily.

    • northernTNT

      Oh but it is, because males will NEVER do it on their own. This argument reminds me of pedestrians need not look both ways when crossing the street since big government has set up traffic lights that stop cars in their tracks! No, we MUST battle this, not back away from it. The powerful NEVER give up rights voluntarily, but they sure as hell revel when we remove our own rights to be safe in ALL spaces. Women CAN stand together and fight back.

  • northernTNT

    I agree with segregation ONLY in very very limited circumstances. Studies claiming that girls do better in classes without males fail to distinguish between good and bad and fair and unfair teachers. Good and fair teachers can be plentiful in co-ed schools. I am a female who thrived in math and in phys ed in elementary and high school, because my teachers were like that. My teachers did not practice sexism, and my family did not practice sexism.
    Segregation is never the solution. We must not be victims, and we must FIGHT for our right to the same PUBLIC spaces as males. Saying that public transit is too violent for females is NOT acceptable, it IS an admission of loss.
    Admitting that males in this society are socialised violently is a necessary step, but the other step is not to separate ourselves from males, but to confront them. We have Jewish males asking for separate spaces on planes in order to not be in proximity to females. That is not any more acceptable.
    The UK is becoming Sharia land… and as long as people bow their heads to religious stupidity, women will suffer. Things have gotten worse over there because governments allowed religious immigrants to make thing worse, by allowing their stupid religious diversity, we are harming females.
    Gender harms females.
    Religion harms females.
    Faith adulating governments (even those disguised as interfaith) will always do wrong by females. Segregation is a loss of public space, segregation is NOT a victory. 🙁

    • will

      “Saying that public transit is too violent for females is NOT acceptable, it IS an admission of loss.”

      This is a bit disingenuous, NTNT. Meghan did not say “public transit is too violent for females”. The article suggests that female citizens should have the right to public transit free of the presence of predatory and aggressive men.

      Similarly, you state “We have Jewish males asking for separate spaces on planes in order to not be in proximity to females. That is not any more acceptable”. This comparison does not function. Jewish men do not decline to sit next to women because women tend to threaten the men’s safety and comfort through aggression and assault. It is based on some idea of the the toxicity of women.

      To frame the argument put forth as some sort of reiteration of patriarchal faith-based structure or an iteration of gender division is unfair and inaccurate. It’s about safety. Frankly, I’d like to see a zero tolerance policy where one man’s anti-social behaviour results in all men being banned from using a transit system for a period of time. If the boys can’t behave themselves, then the whole group should suffer the consequences.

      • northernTNT

        Oh but they DO. These idiot religious males see females as a threat of sin. Some women may feel that leering is a terrible form of violence, but for a devout faithful, inducing to sin is very real. I think faith in imaginary beings is the stupidest thing on Earth, but segregation leads to no good. Voluntary Sharia leads only to mandatory Sharia.

    • LuckPushedMeFirst

      Did you actually read the article and accompanying responses? If you had, you would’ve caught the part about mixed sex carriages in Japan becoming safer *after* the institution of female-only carriages. The women only cars brought much needed attention to the issue and people- i.e. men- finally acknowledged how severe the problem really is.

      Sometimes women only spaces serve to provoke a long overdue conversation in the public sphere. Men who care about these issues stop to wonder, “Why is this necessary and what can I do to help eliminate the need for them?” There is no bolder statement about the problem of male-on-female violence than a concrete reminder- “WOMEN ONLY”- that women cannot relax among men.

      The liberal women flapping their jaws about offense to men, etc., are no better than right-wing women who vociferously defend the wage gap and anti-abortion legislation. It’s all about protecting the status quo for a few meager cookies from their male overlords. They’re sell-outs. All of them.

    • andeväsen

      I agree with the distinction between public and private space. Public transport is not the same as public toilets. Cloistering some women encourages violent males to continue to believe that other women whose spaces and bodies they violated existed for their benefit.

      • Tired feminist

        “Cloistering some women encourages violent males to continue to believe
        that other women whose spaces and bodies they violated existed for their
        benefit.”

        Yes!!!!!!!

        I mean, we’re more than half of population. How many women-only cars would have to be created? Which women aren’t good enough to be protected?

        • andeväsen

          This is so key: which women aren’t good enough to be protected? Our goal is to ensure no woman is assaulted. If women’s carriages are to be part of the road towards that goal, then those women’s carriages should be able to carry all women.

      • northernTNT

        Indeed… following segregation… us females travelling in coed wagons would be said to be “looking for it”… Nope, segregation may be helpful for the few, but it is extremely harmful to females as a class.

  • Daughter of Achelous

    The liberal feminists who get so upset about female-only space are regressive and care nothing for women’s safety. Do they really think feminists who know the value of female-only space see no value in education as well? These same idiots also say self-defense training is victim-blaming because men need to not rape. No shit, but women need to know the skills to prevent attackers as well. If you are really anti-rape you would agree with that. The problem is that sex segregation has been used in a religious sense. The problem is the reactionary social values that religious people hold and not inherently that the space is female-only. We need secular female-only spaces so badly right now. What woman who relies on public transit has not been sexually harassed, groped or worse? It’s particularly hard for poor women who have no other choice. I do think education and awareness has value but look at the push back from men when with that transit campaign against manspreading. Society needs to be radically restructured, there should be no room for many of the debates that are currently allowed to take place. REAL reeducation is not optional. No one should be allowed to voice the opinion that women are objects for sale, that rape should be legal on private property etc. If rehabilitative labour and reeducation does not work, these men need the gulag. #GulagForJohns #GulagForGropers #YesToFemaleOnlySecularPublicSpaces

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYJwBAV5p4w

    • Meghan Murphy

      I didn’t dislike P.E. because of sexist teachers, I disliked it because all of a sudden I had to compete with aggressive males who dominated every space… I suppose there are ways well-trained teachers to deal with this — I mean, the problem is that men/boys are socialized to be completely unaware of the way they take up space or how they are impacting others…

      • Daughter of Achelous

        I had sexist male gym teachers but the male students were worse. It was hell for me. I feel for you sister.

      • northernTNT

        We need to educate our daughters to take up the same space as males. I never had any sense in PE that males took up more space. I was a figure skater, a runner, a skier, a track-n-fielder, and did not too badly at team sports. Not once in my life did I let males take undue space from me. We need to teach our daughters to be strong, both physically and mentally. I had mostly male PE teachers, and all students were treated equally.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I don’t believe women can transcend patriarchy on an individual to individual basis. You’re placing way too much onus on individual women to stop male oppression.

          • northernTNT

            Well I guess that is my point… males will not change for us, it IS up to us to make the change. As we set the standards, the better males will follow and support. I don’t want the onus to be on individual women, but on women as a class. I don’t think I’ve ever been significantly outnumbered by males on public transit, it’s not only about teaching girls to be strong and unafraid, but also teaching girls to stand up for other girls.

        • Kesh Meshi

          And if girls don’t learn that lesson? If most girls do learn that lesson, what about the minority who don’t?

          Your comments basically define victim blaming.

          • northernTNT

            A segregated wagon may serve a few females, but segregation is harmful to females as a class. Are you fighting for the individual or for the lot of us. What will happen to the females not in the segregated public spaces… now we’ll be told: “but why weren’t you in the safe space”
            It is the creation of segregated spaces that enforce victim blaming on the rest of society.
            “Why were you on THAT street”
            “Why were you on THAT wagon”
            “Why were you at THAT school”
            Females must stand up as a class, fight the violence where it really matters, in dating and marriage and romantic relationships, which turn off female self-defence mechanisms.

        • ptittle

          Then you must’ve gotten into physical fights. The last time I played mixed basketball, some boy literally pushed me out of his way. It was a recreational league, we called our own fouls. He didn’t call. What was I supposed to do, push him back? Fuck that. I just wanted to play basketball.

  • Chris

    What about hiring well-trained armed female officers to be stationed on trains? They gives women easy access to report problems in the moment, and have the perpetrators be dealt with immediately with much less chance of getting away with it.

    • northernTNT

      I abhor the militarisation of society, there is already too much of it. Being constantly under guard creates such stress that it actually increases violence where there are no guards. I do not want a 1984 Big Brother society, nor a Sharia one. Women need to speak up, fight, stand together, against those males who harass. We can not run and hide, that has never changed anything.

    • Kesh Meshi

      Most forms of male harassment are completely legal.

      • Tired feminist

        Not really. Rape and sexual assault are illegal in most countries. Some countries such as Belgium also criminalized street harassment. The problem is that rape culture encourages men to talk their way off from accountability. It’s very easy for a man to persuade everyone that the violence he did to a woman wasn’t such a big deal and shouldn’t be taken as such.

  • Eli Sheva

    I see this idea of women- only carriages as a temporary solution. As someone cited in this article said, it doesn’t go to the roots of violence against women. To answer Wendy Lev, I would say that male violence is everybody ‘s responsability, regardless of your gender. Men are far from being the only ones promoting male violence and they suffer consequences of patriarchy as well: boy’s don’t cry, boys don’t play with dolls, boys don’t ask for help, boys aren’t qualified to take care of children, boys have imperious sexual urges, etc… Those gender based stereotypes are conveyed by both men and women.That being said, I do agree that patriarcal violence (I’d rather call it that way) shouldn’t be women’s responsability, meaning they shouldn’t be held responsible for violence they are submitted to. In this particular case, I wonder if women-only carriages wouldn’t turn against women: ‘She was assaulted because she wasn’t in the right carriage’ or ‘If she wanted to be safe and not raped, she just had to stay in the area designated for women’. I apologize for the quality of my english, it’s a second language to me.

    • Marija Djordjevic

      I don’t think you understand that you are the woman promoting the patriarchy with all this NOT ALL MEN, WHAT ABOUT MENZ bullshit. Because women like you who will defend them I want women only everything to just escape from men violence and other women who defend them, let those other women stay alone with them if they really believe that most men are good. You know how everybody is trying to convince us that most men are good, just few bad apples are trying to ruin that. Well that is false Most men are evil and only few good apples are trying to change that.

      • Eli Sheva

        I said if women are told and taught to be submissive to men in early childhood, men are taught to be tough, to take whatever they want from women and do whatever they want to them just because they are born male. My point is that it’s a social construct and that it doesn’t help tackle violence against women. I’m not defending or advocating violence against women. But I do refuse to give up and say ‘well, they are all a bunch of assholes, there is nothing we can do’
        What I’m trying to say, with difficulty it appears, is that men are not born assholes, they are taught to be ones. You’re gonna tell me ‘so what? They’re not responsible for their actions?’, yes they are and someone has to show them how destructive and how bad their behaviors are for women AND make them realize where those behaviors come from: no, it is not normal or anything to be proud of to assault women, you might have been told it is, as men, but now time to wake up. We need to reeducate the entire society: if it’s not women’s responsability to reeducate men, I think that it takes people, men or women, to at least start the process. Plus this reeducation thing is a large scale project, given that capitalism as it is in occidental society directly contributes and promotes violence against women. The whole system needs to be rethought.

      • Eli Sheva

        And as for ‘ Well that is false Most men are evil and only few good apples are trying to change that’, I can only imagine it depends were you come from, where you live, where you grew up. This is not what I experienced but I guess it is different for you and others.
        I do think though, as someone stated here, that a lot of men are silent and passive: they should take strong stands against violence perpetuated against women.

    • Sam Berg

      “Those gender based stereotypes are conveyed by both men and women.”

      Fuck this noise.

      Men fight damnably hard against equally sharing power with women in government, business, athletics, medicine, arts, media, banking, military, academics, or science but as soon as there’s blame for problems to go around men are all about a 50 fucking 50 split.

      Women will accept equal blame for social problems when, and ONLY when, we get an equal share of control over power-producing resources.

      • Eli Sheva

        To be more precise: gender stereotypes are taught and thus learnt in early childhood. And yes, mothers, as much as fathers, promote them to their daughters and sons. I am convinced it is one of the roots of violence against women.

    • rips into labels

      I don’t agree with segregation because men will always appropriate what women create, so it wouldn’t take any time for men to claim women have to use women-only cars. It would shift from women-chosen to men-chosen. But I wonder — all public transit has emergency stop buttons, doesn’t it? I wonder what would happen if women started a campaign to draw attention to the problem and force transit to take action by pushing the emergency button every time they’re harassed? It would be awful wouldn’t it? The train or bus wouldn’t be able to go anywhere and that would force some sort of solution. I think all transit should have conductors who walk back and forth and it should be their responsibility to stop harassment of some passengers by others.

      • Tired feminist

        It wouldn’t work. On the contrary. Men would get so enraged at the “hysterical bitches” who pressed the emergency button because of “nothing” that she would end up suffering MORE violence.

        That said, I do agree that it wouldn’t take long for women to feel coerced to use the exclusive cars. I have seen women being victim-blamed for being in the “wrong” car when harassed. Men will really invent ANYTHING to get away with their shit.

    • LuckPushedMeFirst

      “Male violence is everybody’s responsibility”.

      Alrighty then. I’ll leave it up to you to inform all the victims of domestic violence that they share equal responsibility for stopping their abuser from abusing. And before you say something gratingly stupid like “not a good analogy!”, you should stop and really think about this for a few minutes. Because DV victims frequently hear similar arguments: “If you stay, you’re not a victim” “If you forgive him, it can’t be that bad” “You must be saying something to provoke him” and on and on. And what you’re saying is that if some women (NOT feminists, because feminists are anti-gender essentialism, so you can take that Boys Don’t Cry bullshit and shove it someplace snug and warm) regurgitate patriarchal indoctrination BS on autopilot, they’re- wait for it- asking for it. They’re bringing it on *themselves*.

      Never heard that argument before, nosiree.

      • Eli Sheva

        When I say that male violence against women in everybody’s responsability, I mean that we need everybody on board to tackle it. It includes parents (mothers and fathers) to stop teaching their children, consciously or uncousciously, gender stereotypes. I do think that teaching young girls to be passive and young boys to be active and agressive is a root of violence against women. I won’t give your the pleasure to tell you ‘not a good analogy’ for the domestic violence exemple for the reason that I don’t think that women victims of such violence are in any way responsible for it. There is a difference, I think, between social responsability and individual responsibility: male violence against women is a social responsability, meaning that the whole system we live in, the communities we live in, all have a shared responsability in the sense they promote violence against women. Being responsible on an individual basis means, to me, trying to include women and men in the process of tackling male violence. I don’t think you can motivate someone to participate and fight for a cause making them feel like trash.
        When I read and hear someone saying things like ‘all men are evil’ on a feminist blog, yes I think it is amunition to patriarchy, for that it implies gender essentialism: the fact that you are born male makes you an asshole. I do agreed though, that in the society we live in, boys and girls are educated according to certain standards, based on a social construct of genders.

        • northernTNT

          Gender essentialism is a concept I wish would finally disappear from radical feminism. There are not many who still tow that line, but enough to give radical feminism a name. Most “daddies” are absent from the home front anyway, so mothers DO play the major part in socialising their boys to become violent males… not by teaching it directly, but by failing to prepare those boys for the peer pressure that will come at them as they mature.
          Patriarchy must die, as all the social control tools, such as religion and pacifism that come with it. Unless a person has a mental illness, nobody comes into this world inately more violent than compassionate, it is learned, it is taught.
          Women are taught submission and compliance, this MUST end. Pacifism and compromise are harmful to females and perpetuate the violence that comes to this class.

  • Daughter of Achelous

    I love how the middle class dominated liberal feminist movement getting pissy about this probably doesn’t even have to use public transit. This is especially true about conversations about transit in North America but still.

    • Polly MacDavid

      I use public transit. This is very real to me.

    • Hannah

      I really think any woman who has used public transit would agree with this.

      • northernTNT

        I started driving a car in my 40s… I didn’t have a driver’s license before that. I do NOT believe in segregation of public spaces (only bathrooms and change rooms). Voluntarily removal ends up being compliance removal. No to medieval practices of segregation.

      • Tired feminist

        Hm, no. I’m not a liberal, I use public transportation, yet I oppose segregation because my personal experience with it has showed it to be ineffective. You don’t have to agree with me, only be careful not to stereotype those who don’t agree with you.

    • andeväsen

      I strongly disagree. Women’s carriages offer a liberal-minded solution, and it is liberals who want to avoid confronting violent male entitlement and reassure men that they cannot be expected to help themselves in a confined space with women.

  • Daughter of Achelous

    “If I was a man, I’d be grossly insulted that Corbyn thinks women should be segregated from men because all men should not be trusted.”

    OMG what a tool. This is a women’s issue! It’s not all about you dudes!

    • Eli Sheva

      It’s not all about men, i agree with you. But it’s not all about women either. Promoting the idea that all men are freaks thirsty for sexual assault/ harassment/slut shaming/ you name it, is counterproductive at best, dangerous at worst because it conveys the patriarcal view that men are naturally agressive and sexually driven while women are naturally (understand biologically programmed) passive and easy preys. It is a vicious circle.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Acknowledging that women feel afraid in public spaces because of men’s behaviour is not the same as “Promoting the idea that all men are freaks thirsty for sexual assault.” We believe men can change but that they are choosing not to.

        • Polly MacDavid

          Men are most definitely choosing not to. I am old enough to remember when men WANTED to change. When men wanted to march along their feminist sisters. The Alan Aldas, the Phil Donohues. Those kind of guys. They were everywhere. They were even macho but they believed in the equality of women. & then the backlash. Reagan, the Bushes, the endless war, the glorification of the military. Now it’s a badge of honor to be a douche. The rise of Donald Trump to the top of the Republican Party is no accident. All men may not be freaks for sexual assault/harassment/slut shaming but the ones who are not are VERY SILENT.

          • Eli Sheva

            Then what can we do to make them react? Can we start by acknowledging that gender is partly a social construct? That it is possible to be a man and not misogynistic? That feminism also means deconstructing stereotypes so marching along feminist women would make you, if I may say, a real man, not beating your wife to death and raping?

        • Eli Sheva

          I do agree with you. Nevertheless, some words you used in this article ‘dick-free public transit (I mean that both literally and figuratively)’ and ‘But at the same time, if men aren’t going to let up on the lecherous,
          violent, creepy behaviour’ are double-edged. If they do denounce violence against women, perpetuated by some men, it also give, in my opinion, amunitions to patriarchy, by conveying the idea that men are naturally assholes. I do understand that women are assaulted in public transportation every day, I do recognize that it is a problem especially to poor women who don’t have any other choice but use public transit. I think though, that as feminists writing on a public media (anyone can read this article and the commentaries), we should choose our words carefully, so that it is clear and beyond doubt that feminism is not a war against men but one against patriarchy.

        • northernTNT

          It’s a matter of social emphasis. Most violence against females does NOT happen in public spaces, yet, people and policies and fear are all focused on that public space.
          Instead we need to place a majority of the focus on dating, marriage, and all intimate and familial relationships, THAT is where most of the violence is happening, and we ought to address the violence where the violence is at.
          Even in self-defence classes, the emphasis is always on the “stranger danger” attack. A fully fledged martial artist who is not well trained will still have difficulty defending against a loved-one, because with the people we know, we turn off our defensiveness, and we pay for that.
          As for the public spaces… I would think that banishing certain users who have been violent would be a better solution.

      • Daughter of Achelous

        #notallmen

        • Eli Sheva

          Yes exactly, not-all-men-are-assholes. I do think it is important to insist on it, as I mentionned above.This being said, I do agree that something needs to be done for women in public transit. Is the solution women-only carriages? Is it female guards in every carriage? Is it teaching women self-defense and the rest of the world respect for women? Is it all of the above combined?

        • Eli Sheva

          I’m not writing ‘not all men’ to say that sexual assault in public transit isn’t an important issue that needs to be adressed, I’m not saying women are exagerating or lying. I’m highlighting the fact that gender stereotypes are hurtful to feminism and women. Thank you though for you introduced me to #notallmen.

          • Daughter of Achelous

            It’s statistically far more likely for men to commit sexual assault. No one is claiming all men on buses can’t keep their hands on female passengers.

          • Eli Sheva

            I agree with you and thank you for highlighting that ‘No one is claiming all men on buses can’t keep their hands on female passengers’ (though I guess you meant keep their hands off female passengers?)

  • Daughter of Achelous

    My Canadian public school was co-ed the whole time I suffered through school and I was sexually harassed a lot and HATED gym. It’s not fair for girls to have to compete against boys plus they’re rough and intimating.

    • The Raddest

      True. Whenever we had to play dodgeball… *shudders*. No mercy. I would feign illness constantly to get out of co-ed games based on throwing shit as hard as you can at each other. Otherwise i’d be going home with bruises. They even changed from rubber balls to foam balls once they noticed dodgeball was getting too violent. But the guys would try as hard as they could to make sure the foam balls hurt. And they succeeded.

      • northernTNT

        I loved dodgeball, it always came down to me and these two athletic boys.
        In my elementary school, females were not weaker than males, we were not less athletic than boys, and we were not less competitive than boys.
        Before puberty, males do not yet have any physical advantage over us. During elementary school, we are totally equal. Elementary school is such an important time to learn that WE ARE EQUAL in value. Any teacher not teaching that ought to lose their job.
        Elementary school sports and classes do not need segregation, only wise teachers.

        • Meghan Murphy

          In my comment about this issue, I was talking about high school Phys Ed, not Elementary school. Prepubescent kids are obviously a different story than 16 or 17 year old boys. I doubt anyone would argue that 8 year olds need to play soccer separately.

          • northernTNT

            That remains an issue even then. If girls have not been accustomed to playing dodgeball with the boys (segregated elementary), then high school is certainly NOT the time to start. Segregation at earlier ages removes our reference points. I could NEVER have beat a male at wrist-figthing or dodgeball had I not had that opportunity as a youngster, and built up my confidence that way, and kept me challenged when those boys started to puberty to keep me fighting for my equal athletic status. Take the coed away, and I would have been a victim too. Males are only getting stronger than us by the ages of 15-16, that is when they start becoming dangerous. Females need to be readied for that. We should be putting the vast majority of our effort and encouraging females to prefer fitness over princess-hood… a good part of our physical weakness is a consequence of gender stereotypes.
            And even beyond physical prowess and athleticism, take the artsy crowd for example, where neither males nor females are athletic on average, Bill Cosby did not use big biceps to rape the women. It is about a mindset. And we need to be teaching our girls that.
            I feel strongly that by spending money on segregation, we are siphoning monies away from putting it where it will really make a difference for females as an entire class, not just a few.
            Meghan I generally agree with you on so much of what you write, and so in that sentiment of agreement, the words are usually few and far between… but disagreement engenders discussion… I respect that you have a different opinion. And hopefully you are able to nurture this discussion amongst radical feminists.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t have a problem with disagreement here at all and hope I haven’t implied that. Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t need you to agree with everything I say/think/argue.

          • northernTNT

            🙂 No not yours

  • Daughter of Achelous

    “It isn’t about being sheltered from “the real world,” it’s about giving girls a chance.”

    These reactionary liberal tools are also saying that the “real world” is one that must contain male violence against women. It’s true that it does but its also true we need to be able to have some kind of escape from the toxicity of the greater male supremacist society. Also, is female-only spaces not “real” because women aren’t people??? Answer me that libscum.

  • Eli Sheva

    ‘But at the same time, if men aren’t going to let up on the lecherous,
    violent, creepy behaviour, shouldn’t we have the right to stay the fuck
    away from them?’ and ‘despite my excitement at the idea of dick-free public transit (I mean that both literally and figuratively)’ are quotes from this article I’m not comfortable with. It lacks nuances and seems to depict men as dicks with a brain, pardon my french. I don’t think man-bashing is constructive, it doesn’t serve feminism or women, in my point of view. So to continue on my previous comment, I’d say that it could indeed be a temporary solution and that it would be useful and contructive to engage a serious reflexion on the subject to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of such an idea. What other immediate options would we have for women (and people victims of racism, homophobia, transgender phobia in public transportation, etc…), to make sure they feel and are safe?

    • Thomas Eisenecker

      Really? ‘Man-bashing’ is your response to women being harassed? It’s funny that you also use the word “constructive” in that same sentence. This is what you call a paradox.

      • Eli Sheva

        I’m not sure I get what you mean here. I wrote ‘I don’t think man-bashing is constructive’. If you mean that I’d rather focus on what we could call details (be careful with the words we choose to use in an article) than finding and proposing solutions to counter harassment of women in public transit, I get your point. That being said, I do think that women have the right to use public transit without being harassed. My reflexion on the subject is more on how can we achieve this goal.

        • Well, you seem to know everything better than everybody else here. Why don’t you offer some actual, actionable suggestions, not just vague attacks at “tone” or shooting down everyone else’s suggestions or points of view.

          • Eli Sheva

            I don’t have the impression that I shot down everyone else’s suggestions. I agree though that if I have something to say about Meghan Murphy way of saying things, I should write to her directly and not here. I don’t know better than everybody here, but I don’t have the same perspective.

          • northernTNT

            Dana, you’re the only one doing tone here. sad to read.

    • LuckPushedMeFirst

      Who’s got their bingo cards handy? Make sure you’ve marked “tone argument”: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

      • Eli Sheva

        Well, I’ve learnt another thing today, thank you. I didn’t know what a ‘tone argument’ was, now I do. Nevertheless, when I read things like ‘I don’t need feminism because I like men’ or ‘I’m not sure I qualify as a feminist because I don’t think men are born arrogant assholes’ I do think it is important to express oneself saying what you think without using aggressive terms. I think feminism would rally way more women (and men) if certain myths about feminists were tackled. I definitively think we need to find a way to include men in the process of ending male violence against women and I don’t think referring to them as dicks is the solution. That being said, I acknowledge that it is not what Meghan Murphy meant when she used this word in her article. She referred to men harassing women in public transit. I get it.

        • Huffy Snappy

          “I definitively think we need to find a way to include men in the process of ending male violence against women…”
          Men can stop being violent towards women. Men who aren’t violent towards women can direct their lecturing towards men who are violent, rather than lecturing women on how to be better feminists.

          • Eli Sheva

            I already stated earlier that I understand now the tone argument thing, that it was not clever of me to express myself on the words Meghan Murphy used in her article here and that indeed, we were not here to discuss strategies on how to rally women and men to feminism but rather to think about women-only carriages. And for the record, I am a woman. I am new both to radical feminism and leaving comment on the internet, english is a second language to me, I’d rather speak to people face to face but each and every time I talked about feminism to women around me, they seemed to toss it as if it referred to a bunch of hysterical women. I’m a university student, I have and had in the past courses about women and I’m refered to as ‘the feminist’, you know, the one bringing women’s rights and violence against women in the discussion, when we (the other students) don’t care/think she exaggerates. I got so tired of it that I decided to change my strategy to talk to them, so that they would actually at least listen to what I say. Some might see this as failure, I don’t, at least not a total one.
            I agree with you that men are inactive and could, for a start, speak up to men in their entourage being mysoginist.

  • calabasa

    When I lived in Japan, I rode the women-only train car in Tokyo and in Nagoya several times, and always felt much more relaxed. I’ve been both harassed and physically attacked on public transportation, all over the world (once being rescued by a pair of tall and beautiful drag queens, from a small sweaty bald man who compulsively chased me from car to car, trying to stick his hands down my pants. I’m sure I could have fought him pretty easily, but it’s flustering when that happens and you always find yourself a lot more reluctant to hit someone than you’d think. Of course, small sweaty man was quickly intimidated by two much larger and more stylish men and soon ran away). I totally hear you about public transportation. I don’t drive either–never got a license; I’m not a fan of car culture and what it signifies (particularly as an American), plus the idea of accidentally hurting or killing someone else while driving kind of freaks me out. I’m an avid biker and I think my experiences with public transportation from a young age (creepy men, and, the case of the bus, slow, unreliable, and necessitating many transfers) are part of what made me commit to a bike (plus it’s fun). I can beat the bus usually, and it’s great exercise. And if I just need to make a quick errand, not only is my bike faster but I feel safer than when I’m walking (it’s hard to catch someone on a bike). You can ignore increased verbal assaults (high visibility) by wearing headphones. It’s sad though that I would rather expose myself to the risk of getting hit by a car–a very real risk in a lot of the places I’ve biked–than take public transport, because it’s so bad in every way. Yes, the risk of bodily injury is worth the increased freedom I get not having to wait on a bus or be trapped inside it.–As a rhetorical aside, when ARE gross men going to stop terrorizing women in public, and when are other men going to start taking it seriously (and stop complaining of their hurt feelings)?

    • Medusa Jordan

      Cycling has been the best option for me. for years and years. When I was younger it didn’t cut down the catcalls, but at least it was quicker to get away, and you can safely give the finger as you go. MUCH safer at night, and much cheaper too.

      • calabasa

        Yay for women cyclists! It definitely doesn’t cut down catcalls (if anything, increases them, as men get excited by the sight of a sweaty woman in bike shorts for some unfathomable reason), so I wear headphones. But you can get away fast, as you said; even if a car were to follow you, if you’re good on a bike you know routes to get away where a car can’t follow (which as you said makes it much safer than walking at night). And it’s a GREAT point that you can safely give the middle finger, my favorite form of empowerment in the face of stupidity that is just too stupid to bother reasoning with. We should start doing an all-female critical mass. Imagine hundreds of women advancing down main street with their middle fingers extended for all the world to see. That would be amazing.

  • calabasa

    I completely understand why a woman would want a car, for both freedom and the safety of relative anonymity (one thing any female biker knows is that you are much more visible on a bike than you would be on the sidewalk or in a car). Walking, particularly alone without a lot of people around, is also very visible, plus it’s vulnerable. So for poor women who can’t afford cars, people who live in places where it’s impractical to have cars, women who just have an aversion to driving, and for our planet that needs more sustainable transportation practices, we should definitely have female-only transport options. Can you imagine how many women might be convinced to give up driving if there were a reliable, frequent, city-wide female-only bus line? That would be amazing!–That, PLUS we should be changing to bike-friendly cities, installing bike lanes that bypass roads, with their own lights at crossings. Then you would be neither harassed nor hit nor hindered by car-drivers on your way to wherever, and that would also be a huge incentive to give up driving and try another form of transportation, for men and women alike.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally! I mean, public transit is an issue that specifically affects poor and working class women. If you can afford to drive, bully for you — you don’t have to worry about this particular issue — but many of us have no choice. And, like you say, the state should be encouraging people to take public transit for environmental reasons — I am certain many women avoid public transit if they can because it’s such a stressful experience.

      • At least you’re in Canada with decent transport. I’m in the USA. And I’ve had a license since I was 23–which is LATE for an American, we usually get them at 16–and have only had access to a car for maybe a third of the time since. Maybe. So I’ve been at the mercy of pretty much everything, including a really bad pervert of a boyfriend that I would have dumped several months sooner when the truth came to light but I needed to get to work and not be made homeless and *another* male I knew, an old friend, was supposed to fix my car and just could not be bothered to get around to it. And he knew the situation I was in. That was years ago and since resolved but even now I’m stuck living with an ex because I just cannot earn enough to both pay my own way with housing AND keep a decent car in decent shape.

        We have buses here in my city and they’re OK but if you’re one minute late at your stop you can forget getting to work on time. At least with a car you’ve got the option of taking different routes and perhaps going over the speed limit and hoping you neither wreck nor get caught.

        I’m fat and middle-aged and even in my late 20s I didn’t get much guy attention on public transit but it only takes one scumbag to sour me on the whole experience. Got close when a guy sat next to me and felt moved to start an entire conversation and I had no idea who he was, I don’t think he even told me his name. I’m an introvert, ’nuff said. Being crammed into a sardine can is no way to enforce personal boundaries, I guess.

    • I used BC Transit in Vancouver for 20 years and now I’ve been driving in California for 5 years. Just yesterday I was wishing I could return to my public transit days. When you’re driving every day you are constantly being exposed to male aggression on the road and it can be absolutely terrifying. Yesterday, on my way home, a man in an SUV almost hit me (he wasn’t looking) and then proceeded to start screaming bloody murder at me for a mistake he made. After I got home, it took me at least a couple of hours to calm down. Men cut you off in traffic, tail gate you to try and bully you into driving above the speed limit, honk their horns if you don’t jump into a busy intersection when they think you should, they rage at you for their mistakes. Men believe that cars and the road are their domain and women drivers are constant targets for their arrogance and aggression and rage. It’s stressful and some days really frightening.

      • calabasa

        It’s interesting and disheartening and sadly not surprising that you say this. As a cyclist I have also experienced much aggression from male drivers (although the worst ever was from a soccer mom in an SUV the size of a tank, much to her teenage daughter’s chagrin). It reminds me of one argument put forth by a Saudi cleric for why women shouldn’t drive: “Women motorists are at risk of breaking down by the side of the road and getting raped by male passers-by stopping to help.” Which just makes it seem that women shouldn’t ever go anywhere in public alone (and again, is part of the justification for women having to cover and male/female sex segregation in Saudi Arabia). It seems there just is no end of aggression from men towards women in public, is there? Either the woman’s body is public property if she’s out of the house and on the street (hey baby! Let it all hang out! Yeah!), or, if she’s driving and doing anything that could be interpreted as “one-upping” a male driver (like passing him, for example) she’s emasculating him which is SO MUCH MORE humiliating than if a man does it, because, hey, she’s a woman! You can’t let some WOMAN pass you! I guess we can all collectively remember it’s been less than a hundred years since women got the vote (in the US at least) and it will take a lot more than a century before men start treating us like human beings with as much of a right to participate in the world as anyone else–walking, driving, cycling, taking public transport, or indeed working or playing, both of which open us up to harassment and rape (especially playing; boy oh boy are women NOT supposed to go out and play! My Lord it is scandalous!). I suppose we just have to keep reminding ourselves to fight the good fight, avoid the bad eggs and hope it’s better in a few hundred years because of efforts of women like Meghan and others who do so much for the feminist cause (which I hope to do someday too). And I do understand those who say ultimately that female-only spaces might be backsliding (towards justification for sex segregation), but IMO that’s just like people who think prostitution ought to be legal because theoretically we “should” be able to have a prostitution that is rape and battery and coercion-free. Well, guess what. We should be able to have a *world* that is rape and battery and coercion-free, but until then we have laws protecting women (albeit they do a piss-poor job of it unless feminists light a fire under lawmakers); we should also have laws protecting women in prostitution, as in the Nordic model. And we should be able to have mixed transportation that is harassment and violence-free, but until we do, we need female-only options. Meanwhile we can keep working on our society until one day there is no such thing as prostitution and no need for female-only subway cars and buses because the vast majority of people have decided women are human and such antisocial male behavior as visiting prostitutes or harassing women should be ostracized and punished. But in the meantime we need harm-reduction measures. (And some man upthread whining that then “men should get men-only cars too” is soooo stupid, it’s like saying “then white men should get affirmative action too!” They already do; it’s called being a white man. Want protection from constant sexual harassment? You got it: it’s called being a man).

        • I hear you sister, and agree with everything you wrote! Solidarity and respect to you! xox

  • Daughter of Achelous

    When I went on field trips in school there was single seats instead of those bench types seats were some random dude will always sit close to you and spread his legs. Stuff in our society is simply not built with any real regard for the reality of women’s live in the design. It’s not even taken into account.

  • Sabine

    I quite relish the idea of a women-only carriage but it’s true that this is ultimately a token Band-Aid on a giant, gushing wound. The one thing that would really stop this kind of shit happening is men who are not would-be sexual assaulters starting to stand up for women on the receiving end of shit like this, instead of standing by like a limp lettuce. Not all men? Yeah yeah, well if “good guys” don’t want to be lumped in with the scum then they need to stop basically giving their tacit approval by thinking it has nothing to do with them and therefore that no action on their part is required. Sorry guys, in this hideous patriarchal shitfest we call modern life it’s not enough to just not be a rapist or lecherous slimeball. Every time a man sniggers along with vile, misogynistic jokes just to maintain bro-approval or turns away when guys are hassling women on the street he is sending out a very clear message to the females on this planet: men cannot be trusted, even the “good” ones. Every time I’ve been groped or catcalled or leered at there have been men around who could easily have stepped in. Generally it’s been enraged women coming to the rescue or me taking matters into my own hands. Men let women down continually by their apathy and self-preservation. The very fact this kind of thing is being considered in this day and age in thispart of the world should shock men into realizing just how fucked up things still are for women but no, it’s just a reason to get personally offended. Women will have to start taking things into their own hands and sadly the only language men seem to understand in this hyper-masculine society is violence. The vast majority of men are completely and utterly entrenched in male-entitlement and can’t see beyond it.

    • I get why many women might feel much safer with mixed carriages around, I just cannot yet figure out why “women only carriages” should offer a credible solution to the problem instead of just reinforce it further, so I am still not sure about this…

      Actually, the more I reason through it, the more questions I have about the rationale behind the whole “women only carriages” idea though (it still doesn’t offend me that it was suggested, mind!): If the UK were to introduce mixed carriages, I would tend to expect the automatic response towards women who sexually assaulted in the mixed carriages to become less “sympathetic” towards them.

      • Sabine

        I think the suggestion of women only carriages has been come up with out of sheer desperation in the face of astronomical rates of assault and harassment happening to women on public transport. It’s got to the point where well-intentioned people know that something simply MUST be done to protect us but sadly it’s just not dealing with the core issue at all. Sadly, the availability of women’s only spaces (and I am VERY glad they exist) does not positively change anything about the society we’re living in except for the relief women should NOT have to feel about being away from men. This subject is really conflicting me! I am totally with Meghan on this: I love the idea of the relief of being left alone while I travel but in the long-term is this well-meaning version of segregation actually going to reinforce patriarchy and make things worse? It’s a very (necessarily) defensive measure which does feel like it could end up going against us if we choose to be sluts who dare sit in mixed carriages: she was asking for it! Sounds insane (it is) but I think this is a very realistic prospect. 🙁 Again, the onus is always on the woman to avoid the accepted brutality of men (it’s just how they are) and if she is unable to do that then she will be viewed as the one at fault. A woman in many a Muslim country (travelling without men. where permitted) choosing to sit in a mixed carriage rather than the women’s one is seen as basically a neon sign flashing “Rape Me”.

        • There are a few elephants in the room of London transport which I feel are too relevant to this discussion to be left out of it:

          1. Prostitution has a detrimental impact on the experience of all women and girls who travel around London, whether they know it or not. Police estimates I saw reported about 10 years ago stated that 90% of prostituted women in Soho are trafficked. This suggests there are at least, hundreds of thousands of men who are very used to getting away with the rape and sexual assault of women and children in London and many of them are still roaming about freely who directly and indirectly contribute to the harassment all women and girls face as they travel around.

          2. Religion was granted “protected characteristic” status (along with race, sex, sexuality etc) under the Equality Act 2010 (in line with EU Equality law standardisation). Criticisms of religious practices can technically be branded “hate speech”, the outcome of that is women (particularly left wing women) are more likely to self censor their descriptions of rape culture in religion for fear “offending” the mass sensibilities of the wilfully delusional men who benefit from their imaginary friend who oppresses women.

          Recall that we are talking about the same demographic of perpetrators involved in points 1 and 2 when we talk of the public harassment and its various related sexual crimes. It’s a bit of a task predictively modelling the behaviour of a population [i.e. the men who perpetrate these crimes] without factoring in what what conditions actually cause the population to alter its behaviour, (I like to focus on the behaviour of the perpetrators, since they are problem 😉 ) Obviously it’s clear “women’s only carriages” could do nothing to solve 1 or 2 but assuming that this it is agreed that this is the root cause of the problem, I am inclined to believe could not address harassment for women and girls on London transport:

          1. Not tackling root causes of male sexual violence and hence the number of men seeking to target women in public spaces has no change; it follows that incidents in street and in mixed carriages would have an inversely proportional rise for the reduction in incidents in “women’s only carriages” so the overall total of incidence (hence the overall number of victims) is unlikely to significantly change, (i.e. just move about)

          2. Children (including teenage children) are the most vulnerable members of society and I can’t see this being helpful to them. More visible transport staff at bus train stations, emergency points etc could be a more comprehensive solution since there are FA of them around these days….

          3. Girls don’t tend to report rape or harassment much – children are not responsible for what adults fail to teach them what justice they are entitled to receive and how to access the law when they are a victim of crime.

          4. Government police targets have focused on everything but trafficking, child abuse, sexual assault and rape and women are not responsible for that either but we could certainly be doing more to challenge it.

          5. Are “women’s only carriages likely to make the most vulnerable women and girls safer, less safe or is there unlikely to be any difference? My guess would be the 3rd option are likely because of 1 (but the 2nd option is also a risk because of 7).

          6. If gender is to be a “social construct” then it follows that society needs to change before these men stop getting the message that some women are delicate flowers and “lesser” women are “sluts” – a message that “women only carriages” could reinforce.

          7. “Women only carriages” would lend credibility to the propaganda which misleads children to believing early on that women and girls are responsible for crimes which men commit against them and it could also reinforce the assumption that male violence against women is somehow an “inevitability” which is exploited in order to indoctrinate young girls into conceding freedoms and rights to co-exist with men when they grow up.

          To concede to women’s carriages, could be to concede that this is our lot! Ultimately unsafe feelings are our body’s way of telling our minds that we need to defend ourselves, our family or our allies – i.e. they’re necessary. What can women possibly hope to gain from “feeling safe” in an environment which cannot possibly protect them? Not a lot imho. I could easily go on about this, it’s already turned into an epic text, so I will just leave it there!

          • Without the women-only carriages you are seeing these problems. So going without the women-only carriages you would still be seeing these problems. Sooooo your solution would be? That hasn’t already been tried?

        • We’re not changing the dominant society enough NOW. Exactly what is going to change it? Because the only time we lurch forward in terms of improving things is when men step up and write laws. And then they’re sloppily enforced and we’re still blamed for what happens to us.

          • There are several problems identified in my previous post which if explored should to lead a more effective long or short term solution. Look again at 2-4, for example.

      • They aren’t sympathetic to female assault victims NOW. The actual point here is that fewer assaults would happen.

        • The actual point is that although fewer assaults might happen in those women’s only carriages, the number of assaults against women in public spaces would not change, if anything they could even get worse. Besides, the chances of these carriages being staffed to ensure they stay women’s only are pretty low, knowing LT.

    • calabasa

      Amen.

  • Thomas Eisenecker

    Malcolm X once described the difference between “segregation” and “separation” (in the context of anti-black racism of course). ‘Segregation’ was the case when it was imposed upon black people (oppressed class) by the white man (dominant class). On the other hand, when black people ‘separated’ they saw their oppression and reacted to it, in a way they think is best. It is voluntary. A similar analogy could be made for women-only public transit.

    Also it’s funny how, at the prospect of women actually slipping out of male hands, some heroes, such as Eli Sheva, crawl out of their holes to say “Laydees please. This is not a solution to male violence! It’s not good for feminism!” As if you’d care about male violence against women.

    • Eli Sheva

      I’m not saying this is not a solution, I’m saying this can not be a permanent one. And yes, I do care about male violence against women. What do you think? That I never had to face it myself? That I never had to use public transit in big cities? Well, I did. The women-only carriages idea makes me react because I don’t see why women should hide from men. I don’t see why victims should have to remove themselves. They should be able to use public transit freely. So I would rather organise self-defense classes for women, put women guards on every carriage than let men who assault women have the satisfaction of seeing us give up and hide. But as someone mentionned in the commentaries, not all women feel like fighting, so yes I do agree it would be a temporary solution, taken aside reeducation of society toward respect for women.
      And for the record, you don’t have to use sentences such as ‘crawl out of their holes’ to express your point of view.

      • Well guess what? Victims aren’t using public transit “freely” if they’re forcing themselves to use it because they’d rather run away screaming because they’re triggered every time they have to sit next to a guy. You don’t get to tell women what makes us feel safe. I agree we need more self-defense classes. I agree we need guards. I do not agree that NOT having this option is good for women.

        • Eli Sheva

          I don’t get to tell women what makes them feel safe, indeed, and that is not what I’m doing. If discussinng about women-only carriages and saying that it would be a temporary solution and/or be a problem is telling women what to do, then why discussing it at all?

    • Kesh Meshi

      Also, consider the way white racists have reacted to the prospect of black people’s voluntary separation. Frequently it would enrage them, because, as much as they didn’t want black people to be able to fully participate in society, they still wanted to exploit black people’s labor.

  • Tired feminist

    Women-only carriages have been implemented in Rio de Janeiro a few years ago and – surprise! – it doesn’t work. Men go into the women-only carriage anyway. They simply don’t care. Especially at the peak hours – right at the most dangerous time! – when the mixed carriages are way too crowded and people can barely breath in them. Complaints to the staff make little effect. While I don’t disagree that band-aid initiatives like these can be already better than nothing, I have doubts about the real, measurable improvement they can actually bring to our safety.

    Let alone when transwomen (and abusive men dressed up as transwomen – who would know the difference?) insist to be “included” on the women-only carriages.

    • JingFei

      In Japan, where rush hour is insanely crowded, these segregation cars are a success. The trains have many security guards. But in general, men are asked in an announcement to please respect the rules. So maybe it works because of culture. I find japanese men have much less “machismo” ( which imo is a good thing). If a man does walk into the womens only car, and the security isn’t there, the women gang up and berate them. Sometimes even push them out. Im sure there have been instances of male asshattery, but it general, in my experience, most of the men are decent human beings who think school girls and women being safe trumps their complaint of the cars existence.

      • Tired feminist

        Hm, I’m not sure if I understand what you define as “machismo” (in my language this is just the word for sexism, in general). I don’t know enough of Japanese culture to say whether Japanese men can be described as less (or more) sexist. There could be plenty of reasons why segregation works in some places and doesn’t in others (more/less security, more/less cars, more/less general respect to rules, more/less general physical contact with strangers and/or in public…), other than misogyny itself.

        In any case, I’m glad to hear that Japanese women mostly feel safer in the women-only cars. However, the prospect of them being adopted worldwide as some kind of permanent, rather than emergential, solution to male violence worries me sincerely. In my view that would do little more than reinforce rape culture. We can also maybe feel somewhat “safer” with a knife on our pocket late at night, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing…

        • JingFei

          Oh Im sorry if I used the wrong word. I think I meant it by the definition “strong or aggressive masculine pride.”. But google could have failed me.
          I personally don’t find Japanese men to have that characteristic like foreign men do. Japanese men have pride, but not so much in the privilege of testosterone, but more about their jobs. At least , that is my collective experience. Im not sure how long you lived there or in what capacity though.
          Japan is a land of strict penalties for crime. For example, the government became so angry at the amount of sexual assaults on the trains ( and far more go unreported) that they knew they had to act to help immediately, with hope for longer term solution.
          And that is exactly what they did. They made female only cars so the women could get relief and feel safe, while making the punishment for train sexual harassment very high; high fines and prison time. I think first, the new punishments served their purpose as a deterrent. But second, the men feel relieved by the women only car, because some get nervous they will be falsely accused.
          All in all, sexual harassment on trains dropped drastically from 2002 ( when many were implemented on dense railways).
          It;s not perfect, but at the end of the day, people get off the train, do their shopping and go home to a normal life. It has not reinforced any rape culture imo.

          But yes, you have to have a certain kind of culture, with a system that will punish sexual harassment set up for it to work maybe. I still think most women in other countries would like if they tried it. But by no means did I know any women that rode those cars exclusively. We regularly sat in the main cars.

          • Tired feminist

            Oh, I see. Thanks for clarifying!
            That’s really reassuring to hear and I think the Japanese example is worth being analyzed in order to improve women-only transportation in other countries.

            We too have increasingly high penalties for sexual assault; however, it’s very easy for men to talk their way off from punishment by claiming that accusation is false/exaggerated (it wasn’t “really” assault, etc). Talking one’s way off from legal punishment, in general, is unfortunately too ingrained in Brazilian culture in many levels. Add structural misogyny and you have the perfect scenario for abusive men to get away with abuse.

            For women-only transportation to be effective over here, we’d first need some degree of structural mentality change about law obeyance *and* about male violence. (EDIT: I forgot to say – we would also need more of those cars. Being we 51-52% of the population, at least half of the trains should be women-only for it to work.) It’s an odd – and tiring – scenario in which you have to make men understand that the problem does lie within them, that weren’t it for their sleaziness we wouldn’t need women-only cars, *yet at the same time* you need to keep fighting rape culture and the idea that men “can’t help” being abusive. I think this is why most Brazilian feminists tend to oppose the policy and to focus on mentality change instead.

            As the Independent Radical commented, most women-only spaces are basically to *escape* male violence rather than to fight it. While it’s obviously necessary to escape male violence, our goal as feminists should go beyond that. Meanwhile, I agree that in specific contexts and as palliative solutions they can work well.

          • Medusa Jordan

            I read the word ‘machismo’, as being a more aggressive type of sexism – certainly there is a great deal of sexism in Japan, but I can see how the scheme could work there and not in some other countries.

          • JingFei

            There is sexism but seems like a different brand lol.

        • Tell me something, what else are we supposed to do? Because we’ve tried educating, and they just laugh it off. We can’t write laws that stick, because men control the legislatures (despite our best efforts otherwise, OUR OWN sex votes against our candidates or nominates sexist women) and men control the courts and men make up most of the police force. And they just laugh us off.

          I mean we could just go straight to armed insurgency and I guarantee you that would put us back under their collective thumb a lot faster than a safer train car would.

          • Tired feminist

            I’ve written a bit in another comment about “what else we’re supposed to do” in Brazil for women-only transportation to work.

          • Eli Sheva

            Do they laugh it off because it’s not working or because it is, very slowly and that scares them? Is it a sign education and laws are totally ineffective or that they are and that this fact creates a defensive attitude, expressed through what you call ‘laughing it off’?

      • northernTNT

        Latino culture, Japanese culture… completely different deck of cards… except for the rampant patriarchy.

        • Sorry but yes, the cultures are completely different and are you really whitesplaining to an Asian who spent nine years in Japan about what Japanese culture is? I sure wouldn’t, she’s way ahead of me. I was in the Philippines for a few years and *that’s* different from Japan, if I can go by anything my best friend has told me, and she’s half-Japanese and goes home fairly frequently to visit relatives.

    • I can’t fathom Rio caring enough about women to put enough security guards in those cars. That’s the likely underlying issue. I mean… Brazil. Brazil *hates* women. Worse than Japan, whatever the reputation says otherwise.

      And the USA and Canada are not Brazil. Here in the U.S., the mere threat of a lawsuit may be enough to keep some public transit in line. Unfortunately a lot of our public transit is buses except in the largest cities. I can’t see them ever trying a women-only bus. More’s the pity.

      • Tired feminist

        This is exactly my point. It’s superfluous to talk about women-only transportation in my country. There is A LOT else to be done for it to have some practical effect. imo this is the reason why most Brazilian feminists scoff at the idea.

        And please stop explaining me how misogynistic Brazil is. You complain about northern TNT whitesplaining an Asian and are doing the same to me.

        • It’s the same for London Transport. Forgetting the rights and wrongs for a moment, it’s not practically workable there. At least without a ton of public money being wasted on the arguably worst investment ever.

          The public would see it as expensive vanity project (and arguably they’d be right) and feminists would be blamed.

          Police catch criminals: Let’s focus public funds on figuring out why they aren’t catching these ones and dealing with that problem (since that’s the problem).

  • Hannah

    Brilliant! The worst harassment I’ve received was on public transit, always.

  • Labour Leadership contest is a collective nervous breakdown Corbyn’s women’s manifesto must have set them on standby.[1] Here is what he actually said about women on public transport in the UK:

    “Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women only carriages.”

    “My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”

    [1] http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/working_with_women

  • Funkstar

    I agree

  • JingFei

    I am originally from Asia, and I lived in Japan for 9 years of my life. Japan has had women only cars on train and subway for a very long time. In Japan, many forms of public transit are run by private businesses, not the government ( most notable JR , KEIO, etc etc). These businesses compete, thus it makes for a better experience as a passenger. When one had a female only car, many had to offer them as well. I used to take them sometimes even though despite what you read on western internet, any kind of sexual harassment on a train in Japan has become less common. The women only cars helped, and to be honest, public shaming of perverts that came with them. The implementation of them, along with the awareness/education, stricter penalties, sent a message about the poor reputation of japanese trains. The general citizens were embarrassed at Japan being known for this, and consequently became much more vigilant in calling out any whisper of inappropriate behaviour. Now, there is actually a fear among many men of being accused of it.
    I can honestly say, after living for years in Tokyo and Osaka, two of the largest cities, I was scarcely ever harassed on a train. If I was, it was usually weird leering which I can handle. Still, if i wasn’t in the mood, it was nice to know there was a car I could ride on ( especially during packed rush hour times) where I could close my eyes and sleep worry free.
    These segregation cars in Japan have had no negative effect as far as I can tell. Women are not FORCED to ride them, they are an option. For all these women in the article complaining, they do not have to use the cars if they don’t want to. But let me tell you, it is nice to know they are there. I miss living in Asia a lot. Though it has it’s problems ( most definitely), I miss the no bullshit approach to life. If there is a common problem, that everyone knows about, they say “Ok, we have to deal with this problem”. They don’t come up with hashtags with -shaming and -phobic and -discrimination- and blah blah to demonize things that don’t exist. If there is a problem that effects 50% of the population, they will cater to the 50%. They don’t let that 50% suffer because the 1% might get “confused” ( like the trans gender complaint).
    As for trans gender, in Japan they are very visible. There are regular trans hosts and celebs on TV. So people are aware of this percentage of the population, and generally, they accept it. When it comes to the trains, I think there is a common sense approach. If someone “passes” enough, they ride the women only car. Even if they do not pass as well of they stick to themselves and mind their own business like everyone else, there is no problem.
    But the concept that an idea that would help a very real, long-standing problem that affects a vast majority, should be stopped because of the potential for hurt feelings of an extreme minority is nonsense.

    ..and as for men feeling discriminated against? Ha.

    • northernTNT

      And patriarchy is getting worse there, not better. Segregation leads to MORE male power. In general, voluntary segregation leads to involuntary segregation, just a lesson in history.

      • JingFei

        I would say things are getting much better for women in Japan, but again, just my experience. I had the luxury of living in major cities and young women are becoming increasingly intolerant. Many young women are not getting married and refuse to have children (which is worrying the government lol ).
        How long did you live there?

        • calabasa

          I am also hesitant to talk about other cultures’ misogyny as a white person…I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia, the UK, Japan, Spain, and now Mexico, as well as the US, where I’m from (I’m also a citizen of the UK). It’s extremely difficult, as a white person, to talk about my perceptions of other people’s culture and particularly touchy if we are talking about a non-white culture (for example, I feel less hesitant talking about the UK or Spain than other places I’ve lived). I have only just now realized that every facet of my life is touched by race (as it is by gender); there is no unmarked person! I think I mentioned in a comment on another article that sometimes I feel reluctant to date middle or upper-class white men who seem to have little to no experience of oppression on any axis, nor have ever thought about it, since it doesn’t concern them (even if they don’t actively espouse other-hating, self-justifying views). The fact that in my life, as a vulnerable woman, vulnerable because of childhood trauma that triggered long-undiagnosed bipolar disorder, I have experienced a lot of the worst aspects of sexism which vulnerable women attract–rape and harassment and battery–and therefore had my eyes opened to the realities of the world (which led me to explore it more widely) means I feel a bit alienated sometimes by fellow middle-class sheltered white people with few problems and even fewer experiences (at least, by their own accounts); I want to date a man who can maybe understand my experiences better because he’s also experienced discrimination and unfairness, if that makes sense (or at least has done a lot of thinking about it, if he hasn’t experienced it). But does that mean I’m fetishizing men of color or appropriating their cultures? I need to admit that perhaps it does.

          Then again, if I marry a white man in a sense I am capitulating to what (white) society wants of me (to settle down and be the wife of a white man and propagate the white race). But if I date outside my race, I need to both acknowledge that there may be a culture clash (particularly if he comes from a very male-dominant culture), and to acknowledge my white privilege and the power it gives me in the relationship, while he has male privilege (and maybe in a certain sense it’s what I’m after–leveling the playing field; I perhaps feel unequal in a relationship with a white man, who in every way is more privileged than I am). Is this racist? Yes. Is there a racial element at play in a relationship where both partners are white? Yes. There is no unmarked person.

          Similarly, I want to be sensitive to other cultures while still critiquing them (too much cultural relativity is never a good thing). This means both having empathy and comparing societal norms within the culture to universal humanistic values. It’s tricky to avoid “whitesplaining” and in fact grappling with issues of racism (and listening to others talking of their experiences) has given me a lot more sympathy for men (at least the ones who are *trying* to understand women’s experiences).

          • JingFei

            I think you explain and critique very well.

            I’m also glad you share a first hand experience of it, and your thoughts and feelings on it are interesting. And it’s true, Japan is a country where things change very rapidly. Sometimes faster than some people can keep up with.

        • calabasa

          I want to add, having said all that, that when I lived in Japan (for a year and a half) I both noticed many instances of entrenched sexism and noticed women pushing back against it. Japan is still a traditional culture in many ways, but because of that the youth counterculture pushes back that much harder (and can be craaaazy!). In many cultures in which sexuality is repressed there is an unhealthy flip-side obsession with it which leads to porn culture and often to violent or deviant porn (which makes perfect sense when sex is seen as “dirty” and off-limits); just look at the legacy of Puritanism in American culture. I think rape culture and pornography are direct descendants of this legacy. Interestingly, in Japan, it’s not that the culture is uptight about sex, in my recollection, but rather just repressed in general; it’s extremely perfectionist, hierarchical and based on knowing your place and consensus-building and therefore places a high value on not offending (something which women are taught already and which makes saying “no” a lot harder). This is not a criticism but an observation; I really like a lot of aspects of Japanese collectivism (although people need to know their place, their place is as useful and necessary as any other place, and people put the community before themselves, which is something we need to do more of in the United States). However, in terms of sex, I didn’t observe any specific, religiously-based culture-wide stigma about sex, like not having it before you’re married (that I can remember, and I say this with all of my limited experience of Japanese culture). More of a general repression of individuality which leads to an interesting “splitting” phenomenon (what happens in Kabukicho stays in Kabukicho! Or Shibuya, for that matter). I think this is also where the love of drinking comes from (with all the pressure people are under to fulfill the requirements of society drinking is a way to not just unwind but uncork after the day).

          There IS a rampant problem with unreported rape, as a policeman told me merrily when I tried to report a near-rape/murder I interrupted; he refused to file charges, even though I knew the perpetrator, saying the victim would need to come forward, but that that would never happen: “Lots of rapes happen when the nightclubs let out, but the women won’t ever tell, and unless they do we can do nothing,” he told me cheerfully before refusing to file the report. I had intervened when I saw a man punch a woman in the face and drag her down some basement steps into the dark, where her screams cut short. I was the only one around at 3 am, passing on my bike on my way home from the club, and felt I had no choice but to go down there; he was on top of her with his hands wrapped around her throat. As it turns out I knew him–he was a dude I met the year before, went on a date with, was thoroughly creeped out by, and then, after he sent me violently profane messages when I didn’t want to date him, blocked– and how flabbergasted we both were at this coincidence is probably what kept him from turning on me, and gave her time to escape. He was Dominican, not Japanese, which made this all the stranger, as we were speaking in Spanish. The victim was Japanese and didn’t understand us (and all I could ask her in my terrible Japanese was, “Are you okay?” Which, you know, obviously a rhetorical question). I was told by a Japanese friend that in Japan and other Asian cultures victims of crime in general are seen as losing face and may not report (even in the case of burglary, for example), and since Japan is still a very patriarchal culture (which can be seen in all-male institutions and the fact that women are still meant to be housewives at a young age or, if working, to be decoration more than anything, the “office flowers”) I can understand why women wouldn’t report rape.

          My friends and I were attacked by multiple young men (not Dominican this time, Japanese) when we went out to the clubs in Tokyo after Japan lost to the Netherlands in the World Cup (we had been in the mountains and didn’t realize the game was on that night), and I was once groped by a homeless guy while I was passing out advertising tissues for the company where I worked. Luckily nothing serious happened in the first case (more serious than getting pounced on, groped and kissed) but it could have, certainly, if my friends and I hadn’t been together pulling them off each time they deluged one of us. We had to flee to MacDonald’s to escape from all the angry horny drunken young men out that night, some of whom followed us!

          Sexual harassment and sexual violence are real phenomena in Japan just like anywhere else (it may be safer than other countries while walking on the street but not when going out and probably not in the home either), and because of the psychological split between daily life and nightlife I can see why they would be seldom reported (but then again, it’s seldom reported in the west because of the same kinds of shaming stigma in western societies). And again, these are observations I make as a white outsider. I did notice that more and more women are saying “no,” refusing to marry, and standing up to men both in the workplace and in their personal lives, and that the phenomenon of the hikikomori seems to be a young male reaction to burgeoning female empowerment, as well as to the pressures of a conformist society (Japan’s version of MGTOW). These are all highly subjective opinions based on personal observations from my time there, where I made lots of great friends, traveled a lot and fell in love with a Japanese person. I too love Japan and miss it tremendously, more than anywhere I’ve lived–the hot spring culture, the generosity and kindness of the people, the food, the gorgeous countryside. Particularly the Japanese people. In fact, if I didn’t have to teach ESL, which I never ever want to do again (but probably will end up having to do again, ugh), I would go back there in a heartbeat.

      • A “lesson” which you have been schooled about upthread already. Just drop it.

    • Sabine

      “I miss living in Asia a lot. Though it has it’s problems ( most definitely), I miss the no bullshit approach to life. If there is a common problem, that everyone knows about, they say “Ok, we have to deal with this problem”.”
      Christ almighty, I don’t know what parallel universe version of Asia you’ve been living in but it certainly ain’t the one I have! I know plenty of people who have lived in Japan (including my boyfriend) who say they have never encountered such sexually warped men with their disgusting obsessions with pre-pubescent looking porn stars and vile, creepy anime wank-mags. Western women are certainly routinely dealing with groping and worse and clearly if women only carriages have been introduced in Japan it’s for good reason. I’ve spent quite enough time in Asia to see that, no, problems are absolutely NOT dealt with out here with regards to too many social issues to go into here, least of all rape, exploitation and prostitution. I currently live in Cambodia and apparently well over half the male population visit prostitutes on a regular basis while the government also turns a blind eye to the 70% of single male tourists coming out here for sex with prostitutes, most of whom are underage. Things are horrendous enough in the west, it’s true, but rape and sexual assault is on another level on this continent. Women are treated like absolute SHIT in Asia!!!!!

      • JingFei

        It’s not necessary to be hostile towards me because my experience is different than your boyfriends/friends (and you simply cannot compare countries like Japan to Cambodia. It’s like comparing an car to an apple) . I went to school, worked, and lived there, and that is my thoughts on my life experience, If you want to be mad at me for it, oh well. But I think you’ll find my perception isn’t uncommon. In fact, another foreigner in this very thread lived there and said they would like to live there again.
        I’ve stated that Japan isn’t a perfect place. That it has problems. That it has sexism though perhaps a different “brand” than other countries. I never implied it was a utopia, blissfully free of all sexual harassment and crime. I said the women only train cars are effective. Train sexual harassment is statistically down from their implementation.
        But again, sorry you despise it so much.

        • Sabine

          I apologise for any hostility, genuinely. I am not referring only to Japan, you made a very sweeping statement about an entire continent which, having lived and travelled in many Asian countries, was enough to make me gasp out loud. Sorry for upsetting you and I do not despise Japan at all – I have not singled out Japan as being any worse than anywhere else, just simply not any better. This isn’t about trying to big-up our own countries which it kind of feels like you are doing when there are so, so, SO many examples of rampant misogyny in Japan that at times make it stand out as having some very worrying issues with regards to the dehumanization of women. The tales of women being harassed, groped and attacked on the streets are endless. The predilection for sexualized pre-pubescent looking girls is deeply disturbing and this is very prevalent in Japan and other Asian countries. I am honestly very glad that you haven’t experienced Asia the way far too many other women have and do but I cannot ignore what I have heard, seen and experienced out here. Japan is by far one of the most progressive and wealthy Asian countries, it cannot be compared to Cambodia in that way, no. But you were talking about Asia, an entire continent, in that statement and the fact is it is breathtakingly backwards, on the whole, when it comes to women’s rights or even recognizing them in the first place. Of course there will be exceptions but they really are exceptions….In India, the so-called “largest democracy in the world” it is acceptable for village councils to gang-rape women and parade them through the streets naked as “punishment” for other family members (perceived) wrong-doings. I don’t mean to offend you, believe me I am as disgusted by pretty much every country on earth when it comes to what women are faced with.

          • JingFei

            I was in error to say “Asia”. I said it once, and then tried to be specific, but I guess I failed. Most people I know I admit are from HK, S.Korea or Japan. So it’s true, the richest nations ( even if the people within them are not so rich sometimes). But these places are worlds apart from places like India and Thailand of course. I was truly only thinking of my own experience, and focused more on women’s only train car. I think in light of that, I wasn’t careful to be sure I didn’t speak for an entire continent ( how could anyone? that would be ridiculous.).
            I’m not talking “Big” about any country. Japan was relevant to the conversation , but I will admit, I have a high opinion of it, and I am not ashamed to say so.
            I don’t know if that is because how I was raised, my age-group, or perhaps I was trained how to navigate such places well enough so trouble did not find me as much- again, I say *as much*. As a woman you will never avoid sexual harassment. So of course I was not free from this, and it’s quite possible I was so trained to avoid unpleasnt things that perhaps I’m not even aware how limited I was in living. For example, I would never go to a place like Kabukichou after a certain time, drunk, with no large group. It’s unthinkable. It’s mafia territory. And yet young foreign people hang out there all the time willy nilly.
            I have 2 female friends right now in Japan visiting and they are caucasian americans, and they post pictures of Shinjuku at 2am in front of a Hostess club. I told them to be careful.
            I would be here forever if you wanted my true critique of Japan, from top to bottom. The culture, the brand of porn, the sexism, how it is advancing, where it is failing. The good and the bad. But this isn’t the time or place. This isn’t my personal blog and it is a huge topic.
            There is no place on earth a woman is truly safe from sexual harassment, hatred, oppression, expectations. And women are always educated how to live to try to avoid male violence to suit the culture they live in. We are taught the rules. It’s sad on all accounts that this is even necessary. Japan is no different. But it is safer than many places whether foreigners want to accept that or not. No one will bully me out of my lived opinion formed from my experience. If a foreign person has a different experience, I would understand and not belittle it, but I would move back in a heartbeat if not for the ungodly work hours.
            But me saying “better than” doesn’t mean “good”. Or “Utopia”. To assume as much is reading far more into my words is reading things into them that are not there.

            I hope you are able to find a place you like better soon. I have never been to Cambodia, but impoverished third world nations, though filled with some lovely people, can be the most depressing to witness. I have never been, so I don’t think I could begin to imagine.

          • Sabine

            Nobody is bullying anybody here, I think that’s being slightly OTT. I have already apologised for my perceived hostility, it really was not anything personal about you although I can understand you taking it that way given my strong opinions. It’s down to you if you want to continue feeling attacked but I can assure you I have no interest in it we’re all feminists here wanting things to change for all of us. We both have had entirely different experiences of Asia and neither of us can change that or convince each other that we are “right”. I was responding to what you said about the Asian mentality when you obviously meant Japanese and, like I said, having seen an awful lot of Asia, I simply could not agree at all. This should not turn into a race issue! Why, as a “foreigner” would I not want to accept Japan as safer than other places??? Unless a country is the undisputed worst place on earth for women pretty much every country is safer than other places..I have heard absolutely awful stories from women travelling on public transport in Japan amongst other really creepy tales of rape and lechery that gave them a horrible opinion of Japanese men in Japan but I am sure that Japan IS a million more times progressive than countries like Cambodia and Vietnam. And I do not question your reasons for wanting to move back there when clearly you have had such a positive experience in comparison to Canada. It really is beyond depressing at times to see how women are treated in the developing countries of Asia. It doesn’t matter what the culture, religion, etc. they are just blatantly viewed as baby-producing work horses. Once again, I honestly did not want to cause offense and I genuinely have no issues with Japan or Japanese people whatsoever. (OK, I do with the men, but that goes for EVERY country!) Having lived in developing Asian countries I really was focusing on Asia as a whole when that wasn’t your point and got very passionate due to my personal experience which has somewhat worn me down emotionally, mentally and physically!

          • JingFei

            No worries! I’m fine! We are two different brains, lives and experiences. I often enjoy your opinions and comments. I understand these conversations evoke much passion and emotions. They do with me too.
            🙂

          • Sabine

            Thanks, the most important thing is that actually, we really are on the same side! Sometimes I feel like I’m choking on my anger and it’s all too easy to generalize about other cultures…I would probably take issue with mine being lumped in with other European ones when it didn’t make sense. Solidarity! 🙂

          • andeväsen

            Asia is the largest continent in land mass and the most populous by a long way. You’ve stated that one can’t generalise about it then in the same sentence do so yourself…by stating that “on the whole” it is “breathtakingly backwards”. Is it really worth having the argument of whether the giant continent of Asia is more or less breathtakingly backwards than the other continents?

            Also, and this is a small point, your description of Indian misogyny isn’t the full picture: the council ordering women to be gang raped made news in India precisely because, even to Indians living within the deeply misogynist mainstream Indian society, such a decree was unacceptable. The country’s Supreme Court, another institution not known for its feminist nature, ruled that the council itself was illegal.

          • Sabine

            I never said I was giving anything like “the full picture” when it comes to India, just that it’s a profoundly misogynistic culture and this is one shocking, extreme example of the attitudes towards women and male entitlement within a so-called “democracy”. Of course there would be many Indians objecting to the proposed gang-rape of these girls but that does not erase the fact that this is a country where such things are entirely possible and do in fact happen far, far more often than is officially reported. They might not be strictly legal but have been turned a blind eye to for years. It’s a great sign that this is now changing but I have spent many years in India so I don’t really feel I need to be sold on how progressive it is when I have seen what I have seen. Sure, it’s probably better than it was twenty years ago for women in some areas but it’s so often just the higher social classes who really benefit. In the villages it is often a very different story. Sorry if it offends you but this makes me massively angry. I stand by my apparently hypocritical assessment of Asia, as a continent, being breathtakingly backwards when it comes to women’s rights. I didn’t say at any point it was the most backwards in the world, just that it IS backwards. I am from Europe so that is my benchmark but I have absolutely no doubt there are other continents where things are even worse. It’s a matter of degree and I’m not interested in nit-picking. None of it is ok anywhere. We are faced with horror stories of the abuse and desecration of females from every corner of the globe every day. I wasn’t having an argument about it, just basically saying that it’s shit for women the whole world over and especially, historically in Asian countries. I am very heartened to hear of Japanese women standing up and rejecting what their society has been forcing on them since time began. I personally know of western men going to live and work in Japan specifically because they believed they could get themselves a subservient woman who would not refuse and complain like western women! So I am bloody happy these vile, racist, sexist wankers are now having that little bubble of theirs well and truly popped by Japanese women who are not having any of it. In the end I am disgusted by men in every country I have ever been, from every culture, every background. I probably won’t be getting the party-poppers out any time soon!

          • andeväsen

            You’ve lived in India for years. So have I. That’s not the point. I’ve also worked with feminists in the country as well as with women’s orgs in other Asian countries. You feel that gang rapes happen more than is officially reported. And you’re right. But me objecting to your assessment that such decrees are “accepted” in India is not nit picking. It is simply a request for accuracy and fairness to the painstaking and thankless work of Indian feminists over the decades to make such acts unacceptable within mainstream culture. There are countless other more representative examples of Indian misogyny which are “accepted” with more mundane frequency than the one you cited. You are welcome to continue to say that village council decrees gang rapes are acceptable in India and burning widows to death on their dead husbands’ funeral pyres are acceptable in India, but you who would you be helping?

          • Sabine

            I have profound respect for the brave feminists of India & I think I clarified that I do not believe gang-rape is accepted by every single Indian on the planet in the very first lines of my previous comment. You are taking every single word I say literally. Often the response from the government and officials to outrageous crimes like these is shockingly blasé (including the revolting comments about marital rape simply being a part of “Indian Culture”) & this seriously undermines the progress and achievements of the women’s rights movement in India. And please do not put words in my mouth about burning widows; if you wish me to be entirely precise and literal with my words you should do the same. If you’re a radfem we are on the same side, let’s just leave it at that.

          • andeväsen

            I’m glad you have profound respect for the brave feminists of India – yes let’s leave it at that. Burning widows is on par with village council decreed rape – both probably occur more than is officially reported in India and both are extreme manifestations of Indian misogyny.

          • andeväsen

            I am sorry. I realise that me trying to clarify the what appear to be the minutiae of Asian misogyny is also not of any help to anyone, especially given you’re a feminist and we are on the same side and I am in full agreement with you that Asian women face a more misogynist world than European women. However I think there is a place for accuracy in representing the varying manifestations of Asian toxic masculinity.

    • andeväsen

      I agree with you about street harassment in Japan being less of a (perceived, anyway) problem. Sexism in Japan manifests in very different ways to that in European countries, and even from other Asian countries. Having stayed there myself, I felt safer on the streets than in European metros, although there was a different sort of misogyny and a different way of imposing the patriarchal hierarchy. Ditto with Hong Kong, where there was virtually no street harassment to the extent experienced in Europe. As a commuter who exclusively travels on public transport and has been harassed on numerous occasions, I don’t believe separate women’s carriages will solve the problem of violent men’s impulses toward entitlement. Every carriage should be a violence-free carriage. Women should be encouraged to sit or stand anywhere they are able, men should be brought to justice when they harass women, and women should not be encouraged to further limit and further circumscribe and reduce their area of movement.

  • Maxi

    I have strong problems with this idea.
    First: Sexual assault is carried out by criminals (underlined).
    I am a normal male man who takes the bus every morning. I have never ever touched any girl or woman in the bus, I could not even imagine that! That is a crime, embarrassing and just not acceptable.
    By putting women into different public transport, every man out there has just been classified as a potential harasser. But that is wrong. I am not nor will I ever be a sexual harasser. And that is out of question.
    But I am not an exception. Many people are like me. I take the bus 4 times a day, so I see a lot going on in the bus. But even if it is crowded to the last inch, there has never been any assault.
    The occasional kiss by a couple can be seen, but nothing else. In fact (I am just speaking from experience) the closest to harassment I have witnessed was a drunk women going around in the bus and leaning on other passengers. In another country I have indeed witnessed a drunk men, who tried to touch my girlfriend from behind and who later then got shirtless in the bus. Yes, that was very scary. But is that an attribute to the man? I think people under the influence of alcohol should not be taken to generalise a whole gender (and I am sorry, but men account for about 50% of the worlds population). So by shutting us off, you have just legally insulted all of us.
    Second:
    As a man I would not want to be forced to be constantly surrounded by only men in the bus. No, I am not talking about me being horny or anything, I am just saying that once this nice young woman came up to me and started talking to me. So we had a fantastic conversation in the bus. Nothing ever happened between us two, it was just a talk.
    Also will I not be able to take my girlfriend with me to the bus anymore. I will be then in constant fear that everybody is so mad at this law that they will take it out on her.
    And lastly: This is something about feminism in general: Why can you have your own transport but we can’t? If there is a women only variant, there should be men only as well. It does not matter if nobody will use it, it should exist.
    Why do you think men harass girls or women? Because we have it in the genes? No. I can tell you that. People with no morals do that. At the same time I am convinced that many, if not the same number of women also would do what the men do, but they know that if they would touch a man, they would get a punch in the face.
    And here comes one hilariously hypocritical thing: Women can, in fact, publicly touch a man’s ass and nobody will say a word. If he cries for help, he is called a loser and if he punches her, guess how many police members will be on her side? Just guess. I’d say…all of them. Just an estimate though.
    Female harassment, though less common, is rarely ever penalised.

    Okay, that was a long text 😀
    I just can’t help but feel a bit insulted when I read these articles. Please don’t be mad, I just wish this problem to be tackled differently and not like this.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I can’t help but think, based on your experience, that you’ve never taken a bus. And many women DO see ALL MEN as potential perpetrators. Just because you don’t like that reality doesn’t disprove it.

      • It’s the concept of Schroedinger’s Man. Is he or isn’t he a harasser? They do not go around with warning tattoos on their foreheads.

    • Eli Sheva

      ‘This is something about feminism in general: Why can you have your own
      transport but we can’t? If there is a women only variant, there should
      be men only as well. It does not matter if nobody will use it, it should
      exist’: because men are not subject to sexual assault/ harassment/catcalling in public transit?
      I’d like to add that this article isn’t about a law forcing women to use women-only carriages, it’s about determining if giving them the choice to be separated from men is a good idea and if not, why?

    • Eli Sheva

      I suggest you follow this link https://translinkharassment.wordpress.com/page/2/ to see for yourself what some women experience in public transit, keeping in mind that it is only one website.

      • Melanie

        But Maxi has never seen it so clearly it never happens! Regarding having ‘nice’ conversations’ with women on the train. I wonder how ‘nice’ those conversations are from the woman’s end? Women are often very polite and friendly because they’re literally scared to offend men. When men start talking to me on a train carriage I get very anxious. That’s not because I think all men are sex predators. It’s because I’ve had several experiences with being polite, friendly or courteous to men on public transport and then being harassed by them, including being cornered in a window seat and kissed on the hand by a man and having an elderly man follow me to my college after I got off the train. On that occasion a couple of women asked me if I was OK. No men did. They probably thought I was having a lovely conversation with the old guy who asked me if I was married, where I was going, would I like to go for coffee etc. This guy has no idea. All he cares about is his offended feelings. i don’t think I’d like to share a carriage with him personally.

    • northernTNT

      From the “poor mens” angle… my only problem is that the more we segregate males and females, the more atrocious the male behaviours will become. We need to live together better, not live separately. I don’t want my society to become Sharia like.

      • Our society already is Sharia-like. How many more women have to be assaulted before this idea is OK with you?

      • Eli Sheva

        I agree we need to live together better but after reading other women posts here, I’m starting to see that this is not simple. If we state that this is a bad idea because it might make men behaviours worse, we let down a lot of women who have no other option than to use public transportation. If we state that they should learn how to defend themselves, we let down women who don’t want to fight, for various reasons. But if we let women choose if they want to use a women-only carriage and at the same time take other measures to tackle men violence against women, we build something complementary which could eventually lead to a world where women don’t need women-only carriages. I ‘m not trying to play I-know-better-than-you here, just to be clear.

    • The following statements are contradictory, because statement A cannot be true if statement B is true:

      Statement A: “I am convinced that many, if not the same number of women also would do what the men do, but they know that if they would touch a man, they would get a punch in the face.”

      Statement B: “Women can, in fact, publicly touch a man’s ass and nobody will say a word. If he cries for help, he is called a loser and if he punches her, guess how many police members will be on her side? Just guess. I’d say…all of them. Just an estimate though.Female harassment, though less common, is rarely ever penalised”

    • Medusa Jordan

      You contradict yourself. You say that women would harass men as much as men harass women if they didn’t know they would get a punch in the face, but then you say ‘Female harassment, though less common, is rarely ever penalised’.

      Personally I would call a punch in the face being penalised! But you are way off anyway. There is no way that women do this less because they are afraid of being punched. In fact I expect that very few men would punch a woman in the face because she had pinched his bum.

      Women harass men less because we are taught NOT to invade people’s personal space, and particularly other people’s bodies. Boys learn very early on that touching other people without their consent has very few consequences, girls are taught to be ‘careful’, ‘polite’ and ‘sensible’.

      You ask: “Why can you have your own transport but we can’t?”

      This is just ridiculous. This proposal (which hasn’t even reached discussion stage btw) is not about ‘equality’. It is about creating a safer space for women to travel in. Men are not being constantly harassed on public transport – we have already established that. Men are the ones making women unsafe and assaulting us – not other women. There is NO comparison in quantity, or type of harassment male to female or female to male.

      It doesn’t have to be A LOT of men – even 1% on crowded trains/ buses is enough to make a lot of women feel violated, fearful and angry.

    • Hannah

      “I am convinced that many, if not the same number of women also would do what the men do, but they know that if they would touch a man, they would get a punch in the face”

      HAH.

    • You are making this about your feelings rather than women’s safety. You just outed yourself as a misogynist. Congratulations.

      Pro tip: We’re not statues. We don’t need to be on pedestals. Personally I’m afraid of heights.

    • calabasa

      What are you doing on this website? How did you come here? You sound like you don’t know the first thing about feminism, or women’s lives. Educate yourself.

  • I agree that it is a band aid solution and to some extent I feel the same way about women-only spaces in general. It would be fine if women-only spaces were actually a place in which women got together and discussed how to put an end to male dominance, but nowadays most women’s spaces are de-politicised “safe spaces”, places women go to escape male dominance rather than to fight it.
    The ultimate goal of any such space should be to create a world in which such spaces are not necessary, because men as a group do not behave in a dominant manner towards. They should exist to further political struggle and not just for their own sake. Since these spaces have more to do with making women feel good than actually changing the world they tend to allow only a very narrow range of ideological opinions. Every word you say is scrutinised according to liberal standards that I frankly cannot meet. I would feel safer in a space that was for people with a specific ideology, but maybe emotional safety should not be the goal, maybe people need to be made to feel uncomfortable sometimes, if doing so encourages them to think critically (which is of course, not the case for sexual harassment or aggressive MRA insults).
    The focus on comfort, rather than change, is a step backwards in my opinion. I feel like we do need to expect better from men if we want them to act better. Expect the best, be prepared for the worst, at least that’s how I do things.
    I would prefer to see campaigns aimed at discouraging harassment, but what do you know, men get insulted by that as well, so I think what we really need to get to the route of the problem. Get men to stop seeing themselves as men (of any kind, including “good men”) and simply see themselves as humans. Then they might stop interpreting attacks of masculinity (the behaviours and personality traits shoved down boy’s throats) as attacks on them. In fact I daresay the men complaining about such things probably feel that they conform to masculinity in some sense. They see themselves as tough, strong, “courageous” protectors and all that other reactionary bullshit. I’ve never liked “manly men” or “good men” and I never will. Long live decent human being of all sexes who reject masculinity and femininity.
    If you demand to be seen as a “good man”, you lose credibility with me straight away and don’t demand to be seen as “good person” either. I do like that label better and I feel that it is what biological men should be working towards, but they need to earn it, not demand it.

    • Daughter of Achelous

      “The focus on comfort, rather than change, is a step backwards in my opinion.”

      Women have been trying to change men and educate them to act like decent human beings since forever. Only a revolutionary society could properly reeducate men and most of the regressiveness of sexual segregation had to do with that fact that it was mandated and controlled by patriarchal religious organizations. Secular is much different and better. It’s too bad one is instantly accused of being of Abrahamic faith and trying to “go back” to what it was like in majority Xtian countries before and the sex segregation that still exists in majority Muslim countries now.

      • “Women have been trying to change men and educate them to act like decent
        human beings since forever. Only a revolutionary society could properly
        reeducate men…”

        Note that when I say change I am usually talking about revolutionary change (as in an actual socialist revolution that overthrows the capitalist class and leads to the abolition of the sex industry, the beauty industry and ultimately the whole concept of gender) or at the very least militant political activism. I never mean act nice, sweet and (most of all) sexy until those with power start liking you.

        If a women’s space is being used to plan activism then great. I am worried that most women’s places (remember these are usually controlled by thoroughly non-revolutionary liberals) are just forms of escapism that make women feel good, but do not facilitate activism.

        “It’s too bad one is instantly accused of being of Abrahamic faith and
        trying to “go back” to what it was like in majority Xtian countries
        before and the sex segregation that still exists in majority Muslim
        countries now.”

        I was not referencing to traditional religion at all. When I said it was a step back, I meant it was a retreat away from radical political activism into service provision and other measures aimed at making people feel good in a messed up world (liberals call it “helping people cope”).

        That said, I do not think segregation, voluntary or involuntary, has ever lead to a world in which human beings who belong to different groups treat each other like equals and that is what I want for women. A solution rather than an escape. Retreat from the oppressors if you must, but don’t act like that is going to solve the problem.

        • andeväsen

          “…an escape”. And an escape only for some, the ones who exercised the choice to escape. Other women, not in the women’s carriages, will be presumed to have volunteered not to escape male entitlement. This unintended consequence is more dangerous to women as a whole than any benefits on an individual level this approach may bring.

  • Medusa Jordan

    I rarely use public transport as I cycle, and do not travel much. but I would welcome the CHOICE of a women only carriage. If other women feel it is regressive or insulting to men then fine – they can stay in mixed carriages. I would use a women only carriage if I were travelling on my own as I would feel more relaxed. Safety is not as issue for me as I am physically large and quite aggressive when needed, but I appreciate that safety is a HUGE issue for many women on public transport, particularly at night.

    What woman hasn’t been on a bus or train late at night, and has seen a few drunk men get on and thought ‘shit, I really hope they take no notice of me’. If you are young and seen as ‘attractive’ they will almost certainly notice you, and then you know what happens. The limits are only determined by the social contract – which we all know can disappear like that!

    • northernTNT

      The trouble is, history has taught us innumerable times, “voluntary” segregation leads to mandatory segregation. Segregation plays to patriarchy’s desires, they would like nothing less than to see us less publicly, and have us at home barefoot and pregnant. This is patriarchy, nurture power by instilling fear. The only way to vanquish power is to get away from fear. Fear is a tool used by the powerful to keep others down.

      • Medusa Jordan

        But when has segregation been started through choice in any other instance? I would really appreciate an example. The the reality is that the kind of men who do this are not going to stop any time soon, and however it is framed, or perceived, the choice of a women only carriage would cut down on the every day problem, which blights a lot of women’s lives. I do not see how this proposal could possibly become mandatory.

        • andeväsen

          “The the reality is that the kind of men who do this are not going to stop any time soon”

          Not if there are severe penalties for their actions, which is what women in London have been campaigning for with some degree of success.

          Secondly, even if the men didn’t stop, having a proportion of women’s carriages is not going any distance in stopping the men. Rather it is creating two tiers of women, with the “mixed carriage” woman traveller being further punished with the “chose to be there” tag.

          • Medusa Jordan

            I think that for there to be a more robust response women HAVE to take risks and a lot of women do not want to do that. I am prepared to take risks, but many women are not, and I do not blame them at all. Who wants to shame a molester in a crowded carriage (for eg) and find that NO ONE gives a shit and obviously just want you to shut up? This is not an unlikely scenario.
            Even if men were arrested more it is very unlikely that there would ever be more than a slap on the wrist. Sexual assault of women is not punished severely, and there will have to be HUGE changes in culture and the way the law is used in sexual assault/ harassment cases.

      • Hannah

        But this is segregation that makes it easier to get out in the world, to school and our jobs etc…like Medusa said, it’s started by women, our choice and it’s not like we have women only and men only, like forcing everyone to segregate.

        • andeväsen

          Can’t see what long-lasting positive contribution would come of allocating a fraction of carriages in every train to women. It would not deter male attackers from attacking women in mixed carriages. It would not deter male attackers from attacking women at mixed schools and in mixed workplaces. It is focussing the issue, as with all liberal-originated, harm-reduction model solutions, on to women’s choices and behaviours and away from men’s. Accelerating the push towards holding attackers accountable for their actions rather than giving women an empty choice of “attack-free” and “attack zone” train carriages would contribute more to confronting the violent sense of male entitlement at the heart of this phenomenon, than this superficial, barely scratch the surface response.

      • You act like there’s nothing to be afraid of. Guess what. The fact it hasn’t happened to you yet is a function of luck more than anything else.

        Frankly I’m surprised men don’t segregate *from one another*. They are more dangerous to one another than they are to us.

        • “You act like there’s nothing to be afraid of. Guess what. The fact it hasn’t happened to you yet is a function of luck more than anything else.”

          You don’t know that.

  • Kirsten

    Lots of sources are reporting that Jeremy Corbyn has suggested women-only carriages, but that isn’t quite what happened. He is talking about lots of issues relating to women’s safety, including street harassment, and he said that women have contacted him to say they feel women-only carriages might be helpful. He has suggested that a consultation might be useful, that’s all.

  • Rocio

    So I took the train most days of the week to my university when I lived in Tokyo for one year. It was nice having the option of women’s only train. But as the picture above makes clear it was actually only during rush hour that it was allowed. Fortunately the Tokyo trains don’t have an especially bad sexual harassment problem compared to anything else. Although I had a friend over there told me that groping and harassment was a much bigger problem in Osaka and there I prob would take the women’s only trains if I was alone. But back to this yes very much let’s let women have options and not allow them this choice bc of idealism. And there are in fact exceptions in the women’s car in Japan. I believe elementary school aged boys are allowed to ride and men in wheelchairs are allowed in some of them if they are accompanied by a woman. So it’s not even like it’s all women. It’s just no men except very rarely a wheelchaired man accompanied by a woman which I have actually never seen in person.

    When I took the women’s train there it was only bc it was slightly less crowded than the mixed gender cars which if you’ve heard anything about Japanese trains you would know you are crammed into like sardines. Also on an interesting note urban Japanese women are *far less* terrified of walking alone at night than urban American women are and you see a lot more of them walking around confidently at night. It could be in part bc no one is allowed to have guns whereas it’s ridiculously easy to get guns here and that’s part of the fear. The other part is just that there are lots of people walking around at night so it’s less lonely.

    • JingFei

      This is true. I think a lot of western people have an unclear concept of Japan. I live in Canada now, but I felt far, far safer in Tokyo walking around by myself. In Japan, many women feel fine walking home alone at night from the train.
      Of course, like everywhere, there are very real problems of sexism. But it seems young Japanese men these days ( and that’s what I know) don’t have the same sense of entitlement as they do in the west. It’s less off-putting anyways. Street harassment is also not common. I never held my breath waiting for a lewd comment while passing a man there, it’s just rare.

  • Daughter of Achelous

    “All-woman groups, meetings, projects seem to be great things for causing
    controversy and confrontation. Many women are offended by them; many
    are afraid to be the one to announce the exclusion of men; it is seen as
    a device whose use needs much elaborate justification. I think this is
    because conscious and deliberate exclusion of men by women, from
    anything, is blatant insubordination, and generates in women fear of
    punishment and reprisal (fear which is often well-justified). Our own
    timidity and desire to avoid confrontations generally keep us from doing
    very much in the way of all-woman groups and meetings. But when we do,
    we invariably run into the male champion who challenges our right to do
    it. Only a small minority of men go crazy when an event is advertised to
    be for women only-just one man tried to crash our women-only Rape
    Speak-Out, and only a few hid under the auditorium seats to try to spy
    on a women-only meeting at a NOW convention in Philadelphia. But these
    few are onto something their less rabid compatriots are missing. The
    woman-only meeting is a fundamental challenge to the structure of’
    power. It is always the privilege of the master to enter the slave’s
    hut. The slave who decides to exclude the master from her hut is
    declaring herself not a slave.” -Marilyn Frye

    • Which is why the latest trend is men going undercover as “identified women” and demanding to be let into our spaces. Yep.

      • Train carriages aren’t female spaces.

    • All women groups, projects and meetings are a “fundamental challenge to the structure ofpower” and article 20 grants this to everyone as a human right (in theory anyway!).[1] All women train carriages aren’t a human rights principle to defend.

      [1] http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

      • Daughter of Achelous

        You must have missed the gender identity laws being passed that suppress women’s human rights as an oppressed group then.

        • No, I am well aware that this has happened in some countries and I am deeply concerned that there is a lobby working on gender identity protections in law in the UK (just that the basis of the UN declaration is the basis of international and EU human rights law).

          To address that point: At the moment gender identity is not in law in the UK but many policies are adopting it as though it is anyway, especially student unions affiliated with the NUS. Technically means gender identity policies can be challenged as indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex under the Equality Law in the UK and where appropriate on sexuality too (gay men are increasingly being made to feel attacked because the gender identity trolls have taken exception to drag lately which has been causing quite a stir).

          The UK Green parties are leading the gender identity lobby (especially the one in England and Wales) which is lead by a pro prostitution, pro gender identity shill.

          Anyone in the UK can (in theory) and should try use the Equality and Human Rights Acts to defend their rights while they still can and oppose this proposed law so that it cannot pass. The worst thing we can do is suffer in silence and allow ourselves to be intimidated. If my words are illegal they can arrest me, until then I am going to oppose these fascists with my last breath. The only reason they have been winning is because they rely on the ignorance of their allies and the fear in their opponents. They have no mandate, they have no wider support and they have no right to do it under the international human rights agreements.

          http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
          http://experiences.nusconnect.org.uk

          • Daughter of Achelous

            The UK equality act is bullshit as well and supports the anti-feminist lie of muh sexism against men.

  • northernTNT

    Due to a back injury, I no longer ride a bike, but to all the females speaking highly of cycling, which has been my identity for many decades, I just wanted to give a little shout-out to a great Toronto artist: Evalyn Parry
    Enjoy the joyous cycling emotions, and some awesome lyrics of females, democracy, and life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gBV85GmFsU

  • Zainab

    I would like to disagree with your argument for single sex schools. I study in one and their only aim is to mould you into passive, polite girls who can’t stand up for themselves and just turn out to be good mothers. You are not taught how to be assertive and bold. Repeatedly you are reminded that even a slightly high skirt will get you raped. As a result you are never able to get enough confidence to face the world. You are just taught how to be passive and as a result you feel so small and pathetic when you go out in the real world

  • FRUMKIN

    I think the idea of sex-segregated transportation has a great deal of merit and validity. The problems that women, in general, encounter in public transportation are manifold. First, there is the usual background problem that women are often treated like “guests” in the public realm. I would imagine that women are made to understand on some level and early on that public space is “male” space: “enter at your own risk.” Part and parcel of this is the notion that some men entertain that they have a right to comment on a woman’s appearance. Well, if the woman is entering “our space,” such men may reason, even if unconsciously, then isn’t she asking for it? That, of course, leads inevitably to greater violations of a woman’s personal boundaries, including touching and assault. Added to all this is that in most conveyances we are trapped, so I can readily imagine the stress to which girls and women are subject when undertaking what should be a neutral, non-event (commuting) but can in fact be a daunting, threatening, even a dangerous, and certainly an ignominious experience. Why indeed should women have to put up with that?

    Now having said all that, there are a couple of potential problems, and these I think are related to the fact that patriarchal culture is not a simple binary system of oppressive males and subjugated females. It is the nature of patriarchal cultures that the underlying philosophy is that all people are ranked hierarchically. The hierarchy in patriarchal cultures that broadly privileges men over women also contains many divisions within each group, in which white males enjoy privileges that males of color do not, and in which white women enjoy privileges that women of color do not. Within the male domain, there is decidedly a pecking order. My anxiety, as a male, is that the hierarchical competition and dominance would only become intensified by the lack of female presence. A Victorian who puts women on a pedestal would argue that that is because of the civilizing, softening, and ameliorating effect that women have, by their mere presence, upon society. Someone more cynical would argue that without women around to abuse, why would a boorish and bullying male bother abusing other males? All I can imagine though, is that if women are compensated (tossed a bone, perhaps I should say) for how the world treats them by having female-only public transportation, that would necessarily entail male-only transportation and, speaking as a male, I’d have to say “No thanks!” (All that man-spreading! Yuck!)

    There are a couple other points to consider. Women are not the only ones who are sexually molested in public. When I was a child I used to commute on the subway regularly and several times I was molested by older men. Of course, when I compare notes with my sister (we are twins), there really is no comparison. I would have to say that my experiences with unwanted touching were the exceptions whereas hers were the norm.

    I have also, despite my maleness, often felt very threatened by certain types of other males. In fact, I have actually been threatened and intimidated by other males. The stress then, of putting oneself at some risk by being in public space is not limited exclusively to females, although I would not doubt for a minute that such intrusions into women’s personal space and threats to their sense of security vastly eclipse in frequency and severity any such intrusions and threats to which men are subject. And, of course, if men are disposed to behave hierarchically and brutally toward other men, that’s something that perhaps men need to work out, on some level, on their own, leaving women out of it. (I’d have to qualify this statement a bit but to do so would open up an entirely different line of reasoning.)

    On balance then, I’d have to offer a qualified endorsement of the idea of sex-segragated public transportation.

  • ptittle

    I don’t see it as segregation, but as separatism. We live in an occupied country. If we can’t physically leave and establish a woman-only country, at least we should be establishing woman-only presses (which we have precious few of), women-only schools, woman-only buses, woman-only businesses, etc. We should be establishing our own society within/alongside. None of it would be mandatory, but I suspect much of it would flourish.

  • pcl

    Gender segregation in sports, changing rooms, gyms, military service and any other venue in which nudity, physicality, physical intimacy or authoritarianism are taken for granted is perfectly understandable. In public transit, it can only be considered a necessary evil at best and an admission of failure even if it is necessary. Men (or any other perpetrators) can’t be “taught” to respect women on buses and trains; they either are raised to do so (assuming they haven’t been born with a predisposition that makes responding to such an upbringing impossible) or they aren’t. If they aren’t, society has failed to adequately control those who are raising them.

  • txask

    It won’t be any solution at all. there would be less services for us and if we would take a transport mixed (that’s mean “for men”) it would be at our own risk. You know don’t take a men’s car if you don’t want to have problems. If you do it you’re a “provoqueur”