Brentwood Gazette’s soapbox this week asked what your local councillors thought of Jeremy Corbyn’s comment of introducing all women carriages on trains. Cllr Aspinell asked me to do this, and here’s my response:
First of all, I feel it worth clarifying that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t say this is what he would do, but that he would ask women what they want (fair enough).But why just women? It’s not the 1950s, women are able to hold their own against men and this segregation takes us back to an unequal society where we are perceived as feeble little creatures unable to cope and it’s not the answer. There’s surely many more options to consider.I’d also put in a pitch for the majority of men who are just decent individuals going about their business with no intention to harm or abuse anyone. Further, doesn’t this put a question mark over those women who choose not to use such?Consider the case of a good friend of mine who was severely abused trying to board a train in her electric wheelchair. Her abuser? A fellow woman verbally attacking her for the inconvenience caused by her disability and the vehicle getting in her way. So, of course, perfectly entitled to travel in the same “female only” carriage and continue her attacks for the entire journey.People are vulnerable for things other than their gender: disability, a little too much to drink, feeling unwell or just scared whilst travelling for a myriad of reasons. Instead, similar to the night safety buses employed in some big cities, why not consider a monitored safety carriage for everyone who needs it?Or how about we look out for each other a bit more and speak up or raise the alarm if needed?