Women-only carriages project launched to make women ‘comfortable,’ Turkish mayor says
BURSABursa Metropolitan Municipality has launched a project to designate separate railway carriages for women on intra-city trains to make women “comfortable” during their rides, the local mayor said June 15 at a municipal meeting, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
“The implementations we have undertaken are not for nothing. Bursa ranks first in terms of quality of life in Turkey, and 20th in the world. And [gender-segregated railway wagons] are an option for citizens. The issue is not that men and women can no longer be in the same wagon. There is no such thing. We have prioritized comfort here,” Mayor Recep Altepe said.
The announcement about women-only carriages has so far been posted at only one station, Otosansit station, but it is expected to be extended to 40 more stations in the near future.
The Burulaş firm, which handles intra-city railway transportation, previously announced that the project would be implemented “in line with a demand from the municipality,” and the last carriage would give priority to women.
On June 15, the Altepe indicated the new regulation was not exclusive to Bursa and that similar projects were also in practice in Europe, the United States and Japan.
Although the new projects was being used by some politicians to engage in “polemics,” Altepe said they had received positive feedback from several factions of society.
He indicated that their target was not “discrimination,” but instead to make Bursa a city of “quality and tranquility.”
“Even before the system had been put in force, an unfavorable agenda was created [against it], pitiless and irrational criticisms were made. In Japan, wagons in 15 different colors are carrying women, if they wish so. In public transportation, no one has the right to bother another. This is why we have not placed constraints on anyone. Everyone will get on and off [the train] as they wish with this new implementation. This is being executed to increase the quality and tranquility of life. Those who stir up trouble are not aware of New York or Tokyo,” he said.
Previously, Nurhayat Altaca Kayışoğlu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), reacted against the implementation saying, “we are not going to allow this!” on a live video posted from the site of the announcement at Otosansit station.
“This is just the beginning, we know this. We know this mentality cannot solve the problems faced by women. You cannot solve women’s problems by excluding them from life,” the CHP lawmaker said.