Women-only metro carriages trigger controversy

By Ma Linna Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/27 22:33:39

The decision by Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, to introduce women-only carriages on the metro from Wednesday has triggered discussions on whether the move treats women as a vulnerable group or discriminates against men. 

The women-only carriages would be available on Line 1 of Guangzhou Metro from Wednesday every weekday from 7 am to 9:30 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm, according to the Guangzhou Metro.

"We want to raise awareness about caring for and respecting women," the Guangzhou Metro said in a statement.

While the authorities did not give reasons for setting special carriages for women, many have speculated that it is prompted by incidents of sexual harassment against female passengers. According to local police, 74 incidents of sexual harassment on the metro have been reported since 2015.

"It is good news that the government provides special care to female passengers to protect them. However, simply separating female passengers from the male ones is not an effective way to prevent sexual harassment," a feminist activist, Wei Tingting, told the Global Times.

Wei said that raising public awareness for respecting female groups and intensifying the crackdown on harassing behaviors would have far-reaching influence.

The move has also aroused discussions on social media with some noting that "women-only carriages can be regarded as a kind of discrimination against women in a strict sense," while others asking if this is a "new kind of discrimination against male passengers."

"We could crack down on sexual harassment by increasing punishment, not by putting women into a separate carriage. The introduction of women-only carriages actually amounts to treating females as vulnerable groups, and it is also not fair to male passengers," Web user "momono" commented.

However, "bailu" said that "it is good news as some countries including Japan also have women-only carriages. The specialized carriages cannot be seen as a sign of discrimination since women will be free to take a mixed one."

The Guangzhou Metro said it is open to public opinion and suggestions about the carriages.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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