Consequences of having a special coach for women
Delhi Metro Opinion – DMRC introduced special coach for women in 2010. Indeed, a fair approach for minimizing the prevailing sexual harassment and molestation against women. But after 7 years, since it has been introduced, a lot more has been noticed that make us question that very step.
Women Coaches act as Portable Purdah
To question, whether it has actually ensured the safety of women or is it just acting as a ‘portable purdah’ which is a reminder of the continued existence of a larger patriarchal and misogynist social order. Not only this, it also encourages the idea that women always need to be protected or saved. To question, the gender segregation of public space and the way it is configuring gender relations. As in this case, the general coaches are being considered as a male coach by men although they have certain seats reserved for women too. Thus, the legitimate and non-legitimate gendering of space allows men to make new claims on public space as a result women sometimes face an unwelcoming attitude from men when they enter general coaches.
General Coach is not Men Coach
The consequences get even worse as it limits women’s physical mobility which is directly related to their accessibility to world opportunities. Whenever they would try to sneak out of this ‘portable purdah’, they would find themselves again suffering the same harassments. Moreover, reservation of coach for women increases the sense of hostility among men towards women. In fact, women face greater hostility when the train and the coach get altered, the time train reaches the final destination to move in a reverse direction as anyone can get into the reserved compartment very easily.
Thus, there is a need to change the public mindset and to empower women by giving them political representation and power in final decision making rather than finding temporary solutions by restricting them inside a ‘Safe Zone’.
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