Only man is the chap selling snacks Delhi “Lady Carriage”

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.

Women board a “Ladies Only” carriage Cairo metro

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.

The Dubai metro provides for women and children only carriages

Images :


About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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  1. Mimi Forsyth says:

    I remember "women only" train carriages in India in the 1980s, and was so very grateful for them! Were they discontinued?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Blog on Female travellers on trains Dubai charging the high fare for women and children on the new metro means no progress for all the women who cannot afford it. Chauvinism ad nauseum ! They will never change. Delhi making the effort at least, altho as you say far better to have the one carriage on the train Expensive for the government otherwise ? Suppose they can afford it these days with the upsurge in their economy, otherwise it would not have happened, regardless of how women were being affected by * wankers * ( Sorry to use that term but it suits the story ! )

  3. C.B.O. says:

    I`m always pleased to hop into a `women only` compartment on a crowded Cairo train. The London underground would not seem to have a harassment problem, but I read where youths set fire to a Swedish tourist`s hair recently.

  4. jenny2write says:

    They used to have Ladies Only carriages on Victorian trains. They certainly had ladies waiting rooms within my memory. Or did they? Perhaps there were just signs left on the door. I have mixed feelings about segregation. Many women would be furious at the idea that they should have facilities specially for them. I am more pragmatic, and think there is something to be said for providing special facilities to show that women should be respected, at least in countries where there is customarily hassle, and which show no sign of liberation. So when should you have women only compartments? I think when more freedom from women is a concept that's on its way in a country, then segregation is a bad idea, and holds back the good work. But in countries where there is a strong ideological opposition to women's emancipation, and women are unfairly treated in cases of rape or find it difficult to bring actions for harassment, then segregation should be available as an option for them.

  5. C.B.O says:

    I hate polarisation/segregation too, but in a crowded subway, I would prefer to be with women. And yes, you`re right: I remember LADIES WAITING ROOMS too. What`s happened to them?

  6. MJ says:

    Since there are men-only toilets, women-only toilets, boys schools, girls schools, and women-only gyms….There should be men-only and women-only train carriages!!!

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