by: Aadyaa Shukla Tiwari, 16
The world today in terms of progress is at a very complex stage- while in The Global North regressive sentiments regarding gender, race, sexuality are having a renaissance, The Global South is yearning for acceptance. The notion of public transport being free for females exclusively is marked with both regressive and progressive traits. While it intends to uplift women to empower them, it as a whole is flawed.
The reasoning most in support of this idea give is that it provides support to working-class women hailing from small towns or slums by allowing them to use ‘safe transport’ like metros. They, however, fail to realise that the connectivity to the towns and slums which these women live in is a rarity. Most buses and metros don’t provide transportation service to their homes.
Furthermore, it isn’t guaranteed that by making public transport free for women it will transform into a safe heaven devoid of molestation, catcalling. Increasing ‘women only’ compartments in metros and ‘women only’ buses is a much more pragmatic idea.
Lastly, this idea doesn’t fall in line with the norm of equality. If one truly wants to empower women he/she should give them rights equivalent to men, not special preferences. Free public transport should be given to senior citizens and students instead. Students and the aged make the least money in the society; the vast majority doesn’t make a single penny. Hence, it is they who should be vested with the right of availing free public transport.