women on tour


Last week a female colleague and I were on the subway in Bucharest. There were 2 young males opposite. One of them heard us speaking English, and started then talking to his friend in English, but not nice English of course. The words he were used were designed to shock, he was looking for a reaction from us.

I was not shocked really, but I was saddened. These young males were maybe 15 years of age, and using words aimed at shocking middle aged women who were of an age similar to their own mothers. It was bravado, but also indicated a lack of respect for other people and for women in particular, assuming they understood the words they were using.  Stupid disrespectful boys who will more than likely grow up to treat women as if they are there for their own personal pleasure.  They were also passing a small penknife between them, hidden in their shoes. It was a little unnerving, but only a little. I was wary and glad when they did not get out at our stop.

And then I was reading about some guy in the US trying to set up a company a bit like Uber, but for women only: Women drivers, women passengers, and no male children over the age of 12. There is currently opposition on the grounds of discrimination. The first comment under the article in the Guardian was about how good it was to introduce segregation. He was being ironic of course. It has to be a he who wrote that.

I was also reading on the BBC news stories from women who have been sexually harassed on public transport, several stories, and all quite harrowing.

lady-trains_0So it seems that there is a need for safe transport choices for women. Real men know how to treat women. The problem is that there are a lot of men out there who we cannot call real men, who see women as there for their personal pleasure, for them to touch as they want, or for them to masturbate in front of, or worse. They are stupid boys who have never really grown up, and it makes me angry. It seems to be getting worse and worse, and I worry about my daughters when they are out and about, and I understand why chariots for women is such a popular idea and has many women of my age signing up as drivers. My one problem with it is that like Uber, it is depriving taxi drivers of a fare, and to be honest I have rarely had an issue with a taxi driver behaving inappropriately; rarely, but it has happened.

So men need educating that women are equal and not there for their pleasure. We should not have to cover up to ensure we are safe, and we should be able to smile at a fellow human being without it being interpreted as a come on. Men need to grow up and act like real men. Boys and girls should be educated from an early age that they are equal, even if they are different. Taxi drivers should police their own, not make jokes about women, if they want to protect their profession. And all of us should ensure that if we see any inappropriate behavior we react in the right way and do not just ignore it.

Maybe then we will not need seperate carriages and taxis for women and we can get on with life just like men do.