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19twentythree | January 17, 2018

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Hop on, but only if you’re a woman

June 11, 2015
Hop on, but only if you’re a woman

The Pink Taxi is now in town; a taxi service operated by women and for women only. Despite the controversy it has started, we need to remember that this an extra option on the market so women can still choose the black and white option over this one.

Women-only taxis have been launched and available in different parts of the Middle East as early as 2006 (in Iran); UAE, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait and now Egypt have their own fleet too. The service is also available in foreign countries; so one could argue that it has nothing to do with religion but rather an additional option that could provide more comfort for some people.

While the service could indeed be of great benefit to women, it could still also result in further gender segregation and isolation as we go along. But why has this stirred so much controversy, even amongst us in the magazine, while we’ve grown accustomed to having separate metro cars for example?

One way of looking at it is that it actually provides the opportunity for women to take on the taxi driver job rather than keeping it almost exclusive to men. You might argue that there are tons of other jobs women could have, why hang on to this one in particular? But the idea is they now have a choice.

There’s also the notion that it offers a safe and harassment-free service for women as an alternative to always worrying about possible indecent behaviour in taxis driven by men. But wouldn’t that also apply to walking in the street? Sharing the same public spaces? Sexual harassment could happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time so would offering separate women-only taxis make any difference?

As much as we are excited about the idea, we still do have some concerns about its objectives and outcome. How do you feel about it?

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