The idea of women-only tube carriages has been put forward by Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to prevent women from the dangers of sexual harassment. If he were to be brought in as leader, this would be his proposal:
‘My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and [on] modes of transport where harassment is reported most freqently would be of interest.’
Baring in mind that recorded sexual harassment on London’s tube and rail networkds has risen by 32% in the last year, then this proposal certainly seems like a necessary and positive step for women?
However, Corbyn’s proposal has been met with mixed reviews, with many people arguing that segregation is a huge step backwards for women.
Three of his rivals to lead the party have already come out in a major backlash against the proposal. Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham have all condemned the idea.
Kendall stressed that although the the dangers of sexual harassment on public transport is a serious issue, segregation is not the answer we are looking for.
‘Everyone should be able to travel without fear of physical of verbal attacks, and we have much to do as a society to reach that point. But I don’t believe that gender segregation is the answer. That’d be an admission of defeat, rather than a sustainable solution.’
Another issue which has arisen with Corbyn’s plan is whether it would even be possible. Will there be someone able to police these women-only carriages? If someone is willing to sexually harass a woman, what is going to stop him breaking the rules and stepping into the women-only carriage? Will someone be there to stop it?
Corbyn proposed that this plan would be put forward if he came into power, which would only be – at the earliest – in 2020. By this point, it has been suggested that the walk-through carriages will be in place, meaning that a segregation system would be impossible. The walk-through tubes will allow a greater element of safety anyway in the sense that you can move out of a carriage much more easily if you feel that you are in danger.
Corbyn added, ‘It is simply unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed on the street, public transport and in other public places from the park to the supermarket. This could include taking longer routes to work, having self-imposed curfews, or avoiding certain means of transport.’
We couldn’t agree more, but is Corbyn’s suggestion the best way to deal with the issue?
Let us know what you think.