Women in India suffer many forms of harassment which would never be permitted in western societies. Most arise from the ancient caste system which condones among other social discriminations, the horrid practice of honour killings. Less dramatic, but equally offensive, is male behaviour on crowded commuter trains in Delhi where women complain of staring eyes and salacious hands, although this is by no means exclusive to the Indian sub-continent.
I have experienced unwelcome male behaviour on Spanish trains and a friend was reduced to tears by men frotting themselves against her on the Madrid underground. Apparently this is also a habit of Japanese businessmen on the Tokyo Metro (which carries a staggering 6 million passengers per day!)
But the point is that men in Delhi, where eight ‘Lady Specials’ have begun service, complain that many carriages pass by half empty as they stand waiting on the platform.
While it is a woman’s right to be able to travel to work without suffering sexual humiliation, Delhi municipality should copy Cairo’s metro system where most trains have a “women only” carriage, leaving no bad feelings between the sexes.
Of course segregation is standard in Muslim countries and therefore Dubai’s gleaming new Metro provides a women and children only cabin in each train. But it is in the Gold Class carriage costing double the fare and beyond the reach of poor migrant worker families living in the emirate.
Images : www.copix.co.uk