With large numbers of female passengers feeling assaulted, groped, and sexually harassed on commuter trains, a growing trend has emerged. That trend is Women-only Train Carriages and they are becoming increasing popular in several major cities of the world.
Introduced in Japan in the year 2000, they were conceived as a way to stop sexual harassment against women. Japan has long had problems with men and women sharing train cars together. There are many women who have been groped or sexually assaulted on the trains. Some victims came forward, but most did not tell the police. It’s very difficult to catch a groper on a train that is full with so many different people. The same issue is a problem in many other major cities in the world.
Japan has a history of female-only carriages. The current Chuo Main Line was running all-girl trains as far back as 1912. They were designed for female students to get back and forth to school in the city. A similar line was ran in Osaka for female students in the 1950s. Both trains ended their runs in 1973.
Today, they are being used in: Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Brazil, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico, Belarus, Dubai, the Philippines, and most recently they were launched in Jakarta, Indonesia just last week. Jakarta started with 20 Female-only carriages and plans to add more within the next three months.
The Women-only carriages are not without controversy. Japanese men are in a bid to get equal treatment, with Male-only carriages. They don’t want to be falsely accused of groping a woman and they feel that a man only carriage would prevent it. In addition, some passengers have complained that female-only carriages put women on mixed carts at a higher risk for assault. Still others have more generalized complaints, such as, special carts mean additional overcrowding (which is already a problem) for everyone.
Regardless of the controversy, there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down of cities demanding Women-only carriages. It’s a trend that is continuing to gain momentum.