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Women only subway & train cars in Brazil

Some large cities in Brazil have adopted this measure to try to prevent sexual abuse during rush hour in public transportation. However, it doesn't work as well as it should and it's still only a palliative measure.

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This initiative is supported by law, however, it's not uncommon for men to disrespect it, for women themselves to use the opportunity to abuse other women and even for the subway workers to ignore the rules and don't try to reinforce it when they see someone breaking them (even though the law states that the subway and train companies are responsible for monitoring it's inforcement).

Men even try to justify the use of the cars in rush hour complaining about the number of cars available (when the law states that it doesn't matter how many cars are available; there should always be at least one reserved for women only), explaining that this car tends to have more space than the other seven and if they're not touching anybody, it's ok.
I've seen situations where many men were in the women's car sitting on the preferential seats when a pregnant woman and some elderly ladies were near by, standing. 

Another issue this brings is in regards to the exclusion of  trans people. A person's gender definition is to be made by themselves, however when you create a car for women, it's not clear if trans women or cis men can actually get in. Considering how minorities tends to be discriminated against and, at least in Brazil, homophobia is an unremitting issue where many are killed monthly from hate crimes, if we start to solve our problems with measures such as this, we'd need another car just for trans people... A lesbian was once forced out of a subway car in Rio just for not looking like a girl "should". 

The main issue here is this is only a temporary solution. By doing this we're teaching women, and most importantly little girls, that the public space belongs mainly to men and this is what they need to do to be safe, when, actually we should be teaching men and little boys how to respect women, understanding they're just as valuable as them and never will they have the opportunity, right or should they want to harass them.

An option that could be tried out is adding educational information together with measures like this (but that actually consider women as half the population and not only 1/8 of it). Today, e.g., women's cars in Brazil are filled with gender directed advertising (shampoos, cartoons for girls...); if instead these ad spaces were used to inform women on how to protect themselves from assaults and where to go in case they get harassed and men - who do use the car in non rush hour hours - how sexual harassment is a crime punished by law and women are not to be disrespected, maybe some sort of change could begin to happen.


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Hello Sofia,
I would have to agree that this is only a temporary solution, if it could be a solution. Separating women and allowing them to be separated from what society is might only be babying them of what "real" life is. Also violence towards women does not have to come directly from a males. There are also violence acts women against women. How is that controlled? The issue with this is that violence is seen as opposite genders against each other. What about transsexuals, bisexual, lesbians and gays? Are they going to have their own separate transportation system? Does seem fair does it?

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Hi Chely,
Exactly! This brings lots of other issues and is far from being a solution... that's probably why it doesn't really work in Brazil.
We must find ways to actually change ideologies and teach people, from childhood, better ways of engaging with one another, no matter what they grow to consider their sexual identities are.

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