Ladies’ Compartment - An idea against Gender Equality

The recent decision of the government to have a separate ladies' compartment in the Delhi Metro has not impressed me much. And the reasons behind it are mainly two:

 

1. I consider it to be a privilege for women; a privilege that they should NOT get. If they don't like to be any lesser than men, then they should also not get anything more than men. Giving a special Ladies' Compartment is, in a way, against the idea of Gender Equality. 

 

2. It's an easier way out. Since the government finds it difficult to change the mindset of men, they decided to take the easy way out, and gave a Ladies' Compartment to women who complain about the unsafe city environment. 

 

They say that the aim is to build and develop a society that thrives on Gender Equality, and where women should not feel scared, or lesser equipped in any way, from the opposite sex. They say that both males and females should have equal rights, and that there should be no discrimination against women. 

 

I ask – If there should be no gender discrimination, and one sex should not be less than the other, then do we have the right to give gender 'privileges'? In my opinion, a ladies' compartment in the Delhi Metro is a privilege that one gender enjoys, rather than a safety measure.  Or simply put, it's a privilege in the name of safety. 

 

Most people would disagree with me. Some would even question my opinions, considering the fact that I am a woman myself. I should be happy with the move that the government has made for my security and safety while traveling. But I'm upset. I am upset because I don't want a society where I can walk in like a queen inside the ladies' compartment and grab a seat for myself. Instead, I want a society where I can walk in any compartment of the train, and a man gets up with courtesy to offer me a seat. 

 

Consider two situations:

 

In the first one:

 

A woman complains to a Judge about a man eve-teasing her in the Metro. The judge in his response says, "Okay woman, you have a problem? Fine, I pass the order to make a new ladies' compartment. Now you can travel in that compartment and stop complaining about eve-teasing."

 

Of course, the man in this case is punished for eve teasing, but when he gets out of the jail, he will probably do it again. And then the next woman too will be asked to start traveling in the Ladies Compartment. 

 

In the second case:

 

A woman complains to a Judge about a man eve-teasing her in the Metro. The judge in his response says, "The man has not shown appropriate social conduct. An action should be taken against him."

 

In this case, the woman is happy because she has received complete justice. The man will probably be taught to value and respect the position of women in the society, and next time onwards, he'd probably not show inappropriate conduct anymore. 

 

What the Indian government has done, is following of the first case, where it is implied that men can continue eve teasing. If women have a problem with that, then they should start traveling in the ladies compartment. 

 

I don't want this kind of a society, where a man can have the liberty to do whatever he wants, and women who have a problem with that are advised to travel in a ladies' compartment. I want a society where instead the man is taught the difference between right and wrong. And I am assuming that the government finds it difficult to do so. They find it difficult to create awareness and make people literate and educated, which is why they choose easier options, such as making ladies' compartments. 

 

Come to think of it... When a woman insists on traveling in a ladies compartment, isn't she herself implying that she belongs to the weaker half of the society? Isn't she herself meaning to say that the other gender is more powerful? When I travel in a ladies' compartment, I feel guilty, for being treated like a queen and having a comfortable seat and a spacious compartment, while men in the other compartments are struggling for space to breathe. I also feel weak, and meek, that I chickened out and chose the safer way of traveling because I am scared of the other gender. 

 

Can't we just teach women to be a little stronger and ask them to co-exist, or at least travel peacefully and equally with men? And can't we teach men to be a little more civil, and respectful of women, so that they stop feeling unsafe and stop asking for a ladies' compartment altogether?

 

It's a simple concept:

 

Man takes advantage of woman. She feels unsafe and keeps a grudge, and asks for a ladies' compartment. 

 

Woman travels comfortably in a ladies' compartment. Man keeps a grudge and takes it out by eve-teasing women. 

 

Let's try and remove the root causes… Let's educate men to treat women equally, so that women feel safe and stop having a problem with men. Let's educate women to stop asking for special privileges in the name of safety, so that the men feel equal and stop abusing women. 

 

Ridhi @ India.ozg.in 

- Ozg City Links -
 

IANS | May 4, 2011 Report Says -

 

Men stepped into the ladies' coach in Delhi Metro and paid for it. More than Rs.500,000 have been collected in fines from over 2,500 men since the special facility for women was introduced last year, an official said.

 

Metro reserved the first coach of every train for women from Oct 2 and since then there have been regular incidents of men forcing their way into the special coaches due to overcrowding in other compartments.

 

Delhi Metro initially imposed a fine of Rs.200 each on men found travelling in women-only coaches and this was increased by Rs.50 following the Nov 25 incident when several male passengers travelling in the women's coach were thrashed by police personnel.

 

"We have a special squad which mans the Metro and while offenders are fined at various times, it's mostly so in the late evening, between 8-11 p.m.," the DMRC official said.

 

"But women are good defenders. They protest and generally don't let men enter the ladies' coach," he said.

 

Opinions –

 

Sirius Sam (Kolkata) - Good news this, authorities have already started to consider the welfare of ladies in Delhi, which has deteriorated day by day. If this way the authorities respond then one day will come when eve teasing in Delhi will stop. Kolkata, however is one the safest place for women among the Indian Metros. However, I remember once a political party declared to reserve a compartment each in every metro train and drop out the ladies seats option in some of the general comparts. Do you guys know what happened next? Those ladies who got into those comparts with no ladies reservation had to travel standing all the way, since men did not part away with their seats. Earlier nearly all the women were offered the seats in a crowded compartment, but this gesture changed suddenly in less than 24 hours. When the women asked the men to show them some courtesy and give them the seats, the men told them to go and ask the political party to book a ladies only metro train for them. After some days however, the govt. removed the flop idea, now every thing is back to normal. Now Delhi's case is different from Kolkata, but the fine amount is a bit higher, I wish it doesn't gets escalated.

 

Sanjay (BLR) - I dont have anything against special coaches for women, infact it is a necessity in india where men cannot let the ladies be. I have never seen men misbehave with women in other countries like they do in India (i am not claiming that it doesnt happen in other countries). But at the same time, it is high time that women in India try to become self sufficient in protecting themselves. Learn martial arts for instance instead of dance. Atleast you can defend yourself, unless you try to get out of the situation by dancing. Till Indian women are capable of doing that, they should stop claiming that they are equal to men and stop arguing about gender equality (again nothing against women here).
 
 
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