photo above- from a regular bus- image of women's reservation seat

photo below from

Bangalore's 'women only' buses. Painted pink.

The women Soumya C. Shekhar of Blank Noise and I spoke with, saw this as an immediate relief, as something convenient.

How do you experience public environments that are exclusively male or female?

Perhaps bloggers and Blank Noise blog visitors from Bombay/ Mumbai who take the 'ladies compartment' in the train will have anecdotes to add!

check this out:
Also see - Pukar's Gender and Space project

bbc- women's only hotel.

women's only park:

Women only taxi:


coffee boy said...


Do you girls prefer a public transport system where -

a) the front seats in the bus are reserved for women and the rear seats can be occupied by men (as in AP)


b) the left (right) column seats in the bus are reserved for women and the right (left) column seats can be occupied by men (as in TN)


(Please don't make it into an AP vs TN battle. Thanks in advance.)

To be frank, neither arrangement is likely to stop eve-teasers, but I am asking this out of mere curiosity.

"How do you experience public environments that are exclusively male or female?"

Don't know about the latter but an exclusively male environment is actually very boring. :-) Honestly, even for many non eve-teasers. Of course, I DO support "women only" buses (or train compartments) because eve-teasing is a BIG problem in India (and elsewhere).

ratna said...

i definitely think gender seggregated spaces are a comfort zone for most of us, and make travelling/ life in public spaces much easier to deal with, however,i think the assumptions behind it are quite problematic, i.e that only men harass women, and that men don't sexually harass other men and women don't sexually harass other women.
and secondly which space would a hijra have access to?

Mohnish said...

Quite a disgrace that even in the 21st century we need to resort to something called as 'ladies special'
Shocking that even till date assuming 50% of the population(i know 50% is exaggerated considering female infanticide)still feels insecure in a world that belongs to them as much as it does to men...from ancient times women have been treated like slaves, commodities...a king could marry even a 100 times but if his queen would was found cheating she would be hacked to death...till date SHE cant venture out at night for a cup of chai at some Dhaba without being bothered...Wonder who ever came up with Bharat 'Maa'...talk about selling cars, mobiles or even men's underwear the women is always dehumanized...item nos or IPL cheerleading it seems the world cant get enough of the female body...coming to the topic m glad there are buses and trains that have reserved seats for women...its always gonna be at the back of HER mind that she needs to be protected i would be happier when they could share the same space with men without them feeling insecured...but dunno how many centuries we'll have to wait for that...

Anonymous said...

In Mexico city there are special women only cars on the subway during peak hours; not to combat the 'eve teasing' but, to combat unwanted physical contact.
I think it is sad that we have to separate ourselves because we are incapable of respecting each other.
Sexism just shouldn't be an issue; that it is, is very sad. That we do not see each other as simply human and choose to objectify and sexualize is unfortunate.

Jasmeen said...

thanks anonymous- here is some more!


women's only transport services in tokyo, seoul and mexico city.

Jasmeen said...

thanks anonymous- here is some more!


women's only transport services in tokyo, seoul and mexico city.

Jasmeen said...


Jasmeen said...



Jasmeen said...



Anonymous said...

I'm all for segregation in some spaces such as beaches,trains, mosques...
I think the issue is quite simple actually...
I think what is also of great concern is how women participate in making the city, and creating spaces out of it for themselves and all people.

wontonwarrior said...

i'm female. i've been a survivor as well as a mute spectator in the past (w/regards to the poll on the side bar).

i feel it is fine to co exist with the male sex in public spaces. i feel that women specific transport etc is a radical take.
feels like the proposed ban on cinema artistes where they're not to smoke or drink on screen.
feels like we're some other backward class who 'need' this quota. when we're not, and we dont.

having said that, i appreciate blank noise and it's works.

Jasmeen said...

i find it disturbing that we need to have women only spaces as a solution to make public spaces appear 'safer'.

it is an immediate small term solution.

i feel its fine to co exist as well.

but im wondering if women exclusive spaces are meant to 'encourage' women to access the public domain.

i would always grab the women only seat in a bus- and it was a relief- having said that it makes me terribly uncomfortable to have used a 'women only' seat.

i went to a govt office the other day. the hall was filled and packed with men. there was a counter that read " ladies, elderly and handicapped".

Anonymous said...

I truly worry about this concept of sexual segregation- where does it stop?

I agree (especially here in Mexico) that women are objectified and downright harassed, by men in public. Does separating ourselves minimize that harassment? Really?

I still feel harassed, ogled, violated, etc.. walking the street, in the grocery store, as well as on public transport and government buildings. When I wait for the subway on the platform I have been groped.

It is nice to be in the all women car on the subway, I do feel more relaxed; however, I feel that segregating the sexes is not fixing the problem, but simply avoiding it.

The avoidance can only grow. Will we get to a point where we have a separate part of the city that we will banish ourselves to?

Jasmeen said...


i couldnt agree with you more-
"concept of sexual segregation- where does it stop? " and what kind of impact does it have on society as a whole? does it further the segregation? does it imply safer environments in a short term way but build more fear towards the opposite sex? i also see it as short term solution but one that avoids dealing with the issue.

its great to hear from someone in mexico and read your point of view- hope that you will bring others from your city to the blog and hopefully we get a sense of this through multiple perspectives.

im also left wondering which country/ state/ govt/ system does address this issue succesfully and how- or in what manner...


Jasmeen said...


Jasmeen said...


Jasmeen said...


Jasmeen said...


Rohit said...

I think the concept of sexual segregation is very well captured in the statement that it is avoiding the problem and not fixing it.

While there is no question of taking protective measures for women, I find it frustrating that there is hardly anything being done to educating men. We may hear cases of eve-teasers getting a rap on their knuckles, but that has never worked as a deterrent. Also, we don't need deterrents - the respect and dignity should be coming from within.

What we're stacked against is thousands of years of legacy of objectifying women and a massive conditioning against mindsets. Its similar or probably worse than caste.

What I feel missing is the realisation that education on gender sensitivity is not a part-time affair. It needs to be an all-pervading action which reflects in even in subtle behaviours.

Sabah Ahsan Malik said...

The idea of segregation strikes me as absurd. I think, if there is segregation then that will throw our aim of 'working together' to bring about change, to the dust bin. All we need to do is to start at the very beginning, let's beginning with school children to bring understanding, respect and closeness between the two genders. If there is segragation, one can not expect a friendly and rspectful environment to develop at social places(in buses, eating places, beaches, mosgques, and all other such places) on its own.

Only if there can be provided a role model can others be encouraged to change their behaviour. I have found through experience 'teaching by being a role model yourself' a method more suitable than others for propogating change.

Segregation is not a solution whatsoever. Moreover it may increase the problem.

another said...


Dianne Sharma-Winter said...

Segregation of the sexes on public transport is insane! What is this implying? That the rest of the public spaces belong to men and not to women, handicapped, hijira or children? Segregation is a temporary solution at best but it is also a public acknowldegment that women are unsafe in these areas, and that it is easier to buy new bright pink buses then change an attitude.

The Ignoramus said...

Segregation may not be the ideal solution, but then, it is a solution that works. A solution that works is much better than the ideal solution that doesn't.

How does it work? It simply gives women more peace of mind when they are commuting. At the end of the day, I want my mother/sister/wife/daughter to be safe, and am not so much bothered about whether this will further widen the gender divide.

So, even if an idealist heart is against segregation, a practical mind is for it.

Jasmeen said...

it would definitely make bus journeys less stressful but it is such a dangerous idea. like most people have mentioned- where does it stop?

i know and understand that the impact of this on one side is that more an more women will access the public space, take public transport- and as for those women who did not have the luxury of choice- took it anyways- to see this as a solution towards sexual harassment is most dangerous.

to see this as a strategy or approach on a time based module for women to access public spaces- i might say it is understandable for now.

Does anyone know of any country or state that has dealt with this issue any better?

Dianne Sharma-Winter said...

I am picking up on comments from Rohit about mindsets. This issue was adressed in NZ with public debate, campaigns and media analysis many years ago. We do not have women only public spaces nor have we ever neded them but we did need to re educate our men about the difference between sexual harrassment and wooing, between sexually objectifiying women and keeping their jobs.

Dianne Sharma-Winter said...

oh and ps.. I am in Kuwait at the moment and notice that women only spaces do not exist. Instead women assume space and the men are happy to grant it. Traffic rules seem not to apply to women, the rule here is simply to give way to women.
now thats what i call turning the tables baby!

simply_smart said...

I also, like some of the posts above think that segregation is definitely NOT the solution to the problem.
In fact, we should realize that segregation has been the cause of the problem all along.
The initial girls only and boys only schools, which still exist alongside the thankfully new coed schools, are the first places where one sex talks only about the other sex in school. If you don't bring them together, the men who were once boys will always only be curious or lust hungry....I think human body anatomy lessons should be given to both men and women TOGETHER, so that the feelings of awkwardness and curiosity are reduced. If men do not try and understand the problems women face because of their behavior, the problem would always remain...!
I actually suggest, that the coed buses should remain, and if someone harasses a woman, he be strictly asked to step out of the bus THEN AND THERE, or else be forcefully made to step out.
No one learns without fear of consequence. If the penal system is far too elaborate and does not do much for us women,WE as a SOCIETY CAN DO A LOT! We just need to realize it.

See this youtube video about,....haath tha, fisal gaya:

Dianne Sharma-Winter said...

Actualy i am a supporter of single sex education for girls, but i agree with simply smart that eve teasers should be turfed from the bus...and that no one learns without fear of consequence. Public humiliation of eve teasers is about sharing the love...you do it to us then we will do it back to you.

Smokers - The Group of Intellectuals said...

This is good. I've seen buses in Delhi and the pathetic situations girls have to go through in those overloaded buses.
bad for my prying eyes though but certainly good for women.

simply_smart said...


I'd like to hear your reasons for supporting single sex education...I was raised in a single sex school and it wa horrible...moreover, it was worse when i shifted to a coed school in 11th because it took me time to adjust and not feel awkward...
Ever since, I have seen the benefits of a coed education...but I am still open to views and would love to hear your reasons, so that I may see both sides and redecide for myself my views.

simply_smart said...


I've heard a lot about what women think of the situation..
SO I decided to ask some men..

here are there answers..

Please tell me what you think about it...feel free to create a new page on the wiki...to reply to the comments or whatever..

Also..FYI : most of the men are Indians who are currently graduates at the Stanford University, US where I am still an undergraduate freshman.

Also, read the "an email conversation" page and please leave comments about what you think of it.

What I got out of it was that most men either don't know how much of a trauma eve-teasing causes to women, or smply don't want to get involved in discussing the issue because they think it is sexist. A lot of men also said that they do NOT think it is a common practise in India at all. ACtually this was also said by my Indians friends in India.

Jasmeen said...

an article published by the Hindu after reading the discussion above:


Uma Shankar said...

I agree that there is a lot of eve teasing. But, how is it that this kind of a problem is not there in certain places like Mangalore district and Goa where there are private buses and I have travelled in them. In Goa in particular, there are mini-buses and if there is an empty seat next to a man who is sitting, a woman will not hesitate to take it. I found a lot of difference between places like Bangalore and Goa. Secondly, I am against this gender war. This website seems to take one-sided views. Please take into account the views of men too. (Both the perpetrators and the decent guys). As a man, I have never resorted to such acts and I can only guess the psychology of such men who do it. Our society is in a cultural mess with traditional values mixed up with ulta modern ones. Indians are sex starved! Eve teasing is an aberration or deviant behaviour which results from that. This is what I strongly feel. Earlier, society was very different and women hardly used to move out, society was simpler, marriages took place at an earlier age and population was much less. Today, the scenario is vastly different. So, when one element in society has changed, why can't we change another element? Why can't we remove the taboo associated with sex? Thank you.

Dianne Sharma-Winter said...

Firslty Uma this is not a gender war but a war against eve teasing and it just so happens that the gender of 99.9999 percent of eve teasers are men.
You talk about the good old days of 'earlier' when women "hardly used to move out'; the assumption is that women were not eve teased then because they got married off early and kept in the house, so to extrapolate from there then the issue becomes that women were not sexually harassed outside the home because they never left it!!!
Finally, perhaps it is till easier to remove even teasers from the bus than to remove the tangle of taboos regarding sex in Indian society.

river said...

Ok, firstly. All this nonsense about the BMTC bringing these 'women only' buses in the interest of women is nonsense. Let me explain..It is no secret to women living in, and using the public transporation facilities of, Bangalore that a good number of the conductors in these buses are perverts. And the BMTC continually chooses not to initiate stern action against these individuals, chooses not to encourage women to come forward with their complaints, chooses not to in any way make it easier for a wronged female passenger or any passenger for that matter, to identify an offending personell or to press charges against them. Do they not know what their customers are put through? I'll answer with an instance. People who've lived in Bangalore might remember the protests that many parents made against the safe roads to school scheme ( a scheme that was introduced to allow for transportation of children to and from school in BMTC buses, in the hope of easing the strain on the city's infrastucture). One of the main concerns of parents was that their daughters might be treated inappropriately by the drivers or conductors. And the response given by the BMTC Chief Traffic Manager was that the Corporation would ensure that lady conductors and drivers with impeccable records would be deputed to chartered school buses. No attempt was made at defending the BMTC workforce's integrity. 'LADY CONDUCTORS' the man does not have the courage to say "We assure you of our men's integrity". So the BMTC seems to be quite aware of the problem, and how do they go about solving it? They introduce a few pink buses. If women are lucky enough to find one when they need it, and if it happens to be headed to where they're headed, good for them. Otherwise they must be prepared to board a bus with many perverts and a conductor who instead of behaving in a way that's indicative of the corporation's commitment to protecting its, oh so precious female customers it pretends to value so much, behaves like a pervert himself. BMTC's decision to answer to its customers woes with such softheaded measures indicates that they are either terribly inconsiderate or incompetent or perhaps both. Most women will probably rejoice at this opportunity to have a less stressfull journey once in a while, but no one is really fooled. This ploy(whether deliberate or not) of theirs, to draw away the attention from their sloppy service, to convince people that they care, simply will not work.This is just an easy way for them to walk away from introducing any real measures that would require commitment, without having anybody notice them.

Secondly, why should women, the victims in the vast majority of the cases be transported in separate buses like they were criminals? Is it impossible to change the typical male mindset? Why isn't half as much effort being put to bring gender sensitivity training to these men? Are people honestly expecting to mend a broken dam with an adhesive band aid?




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