'Ladies' Seat' in Delhi Metro
#1
Last week, I was forced to think about a situation that some of us must surely have found themselves in , while traveling in a bus or the metro- of having to vacate the 'ladies' seat' or asking someone else to do it.

On Saturday I saw a very lean man board the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro at Qutub Minar( an overground metro station). He was carrying a sack of stuff which was apparently quite heavy.Outside, the heat was raging savagely. He clearly needed a place to sit. The only available one was reserved for ladies. He chose to take that seat. A few minutes later, a group of young women came into our section of the train and demanded that one of them be allowed to take the said seat. It appeared from their conversation that they were on their way to a movie theater.The slightly-built man, who had barely caught his breath, complied and vacated the seat.

I think what happened was quite unjust to the tired man. I would have offered him a seat had I had one.I believe one must offer one's seat to those manifestly encumbered, pregnant women and others who are unable to stand through the journey. But I can't come to terms with the chivalrous practice of offering a seat to a 'lady' just because she happens to be a woman. Should one make such differences when helping others?

I have read and heard a number of arguments in favor of reserving seats for ladies. Most of them are riddled with generalizations and fallacies. Here is an example.

What do the members of the Nirmukta community think?
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#2
The reasons you mentioned are all some variations of benevolent sexism taking the form of "women are weak, they need to be protected".

However, there is another reason which is used to justify reserving seats/coaches for women. It is sexual harassment. It is such a common occurrence when women share the same space as men that separating the spaces seems like the only viable solution. Even then, there are problems which this segregation doesn't solve.

So there is no simple answer to this. But whatever arguments are put forth, they can't ignore the problem of sexual harassment.
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#3
For purposes of comparison, the Los Angeles Metro buses have signs (in English and Spanish) near the seats close to the entrances reading 'Priority Seating for Seniors and the Disabled'.

As a thought experiment, one might imagine a bus-ride in a city where a notice like 'Priority Seating for Passengers in Need of Assistance' suffices. Such a sign would make several assumptions about human nature (like the belief in the Tao Te Ching that human nature unhindered by overly specific rules is capable of 'natural benevolence) and about the state of the nation, especially how divided the society is, what are some groups in this society warranting designation as protected categories and what is the state of law and order.

Further, a notice like 'Priority Seating for Passengers in Need of Assistance' though seeming like a catch-all sign actually has implicit assumptions that 'need of assistance' is what should determine priority seating, rather than say, 'vulnerability to street harassment', a sort of vulnerability is undeniably a function of gender and age. It is possible that a younger woman who maybe seen as less in need of assistance than an elderly woman may nevertheless be more vulnerable to street harassment. Even ignoring gender for a second, a standee in a bus is more vulnerable than a seated commuter to risks besides harassment as well, such as pickpocketing. Therefore in societies like India's, where bus-seating in some cities like Chennai are gender-segregated into two halves on either side of the aisle (with an exception made for married-seeming couples), it is unrealistic if not insensitive at present to expect non-gender considerations alone like age or disability to determine priority seating.

Behavior towards fellow-passengers in buses or trains may not always yield deeper glimpses into socio-cultural mores and value systems of a society, since more idiosyncratic local factors maybe at play. For instance, it's possible that a passenger used for a long time to traveling in an uncrowded bus keeping their briefcase in the next seat, might do so by force of habit even on an unusually more crowded day, unmindful that the briefcase is occupying a seat a standee could have used. It's possible to find such commuters even in settings not devoid of civic sense. Therefore, in the meantime, a bus without signs or seat-markings where passengers without too much thought or pretence work out the fairest seating arrangements (call it the 'Taoist bus plying on the Way' if you will), remains at best a pedagogic idealization.
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#4
Thank you for the explanations. Yes, sexual harassment should indeed be factored in when preparing seating arrangements for metro trains and buses. This is especially true for metropolises like Delhi, where cases of street harassment are distressingly frequent.
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#5
(04-Jun-2014, 05:37 PM)Naushirvan Wrote: Last week, I was forced to think about a situation that some of us must surely have found themselves in , while traveling in a bus or the metro- of having to vacate the 'ladies' seat' or asking someone else to do it.

On Saturday I saw a very lean man board the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro at Qutub Minar( an overground metro station). He was carrying a sack of stuff which was apparently quite heavy.Outside, the heat was raging savagely. He clearly needed a place to sit. The only available one was reserved for ladies. He chose to take that seat. A few minutes later, a group of young women came into our section of the train and demanded that one of them be allowed to take the said seat. It appeared from their conversation that they were on their way to a movie theater.The slightly-built man, who had barely caught his breath, complied and vacated the seat.

I think what happened was quite unjust to the tired man. I would have offered him a seat had I had one.I believe one must offer one's seat to those manifestly encumbered, pregnant women and others who are unable to stand through the journey. But I can't come to terms with the chivalrous practice of offering a seat to a 'lady' just because she happens to be a woman. Should one make such differences when helping others?

I have read and heard a number of arguments in favor of reserving seats for ladies. Most of them are riddled with generalizations and fallacies. Here is an example.

What do the members of the Nirmukta community think?

Well I have studying psychological aspect of this reservation , the negative side is that the non reserved category develops a
feeling of hate towards the reserved category. Here males develop hatred towards females. So I think it not psychological beneficial for society. GoodMorning
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#6
(16-Dec-2015, 08:21 PM)Pulkit.Rana Wrote: Well I have studying psychological aspect of this reservation , the negative side is that the non reserved category develops a
feeling of hate towards the reserved category. Here males develop hatred towards females. So I think it not psychological beneficial for society. GoodMorning

That needs change in the attitude of the people who blindly hate something just because its inconvenient without realizing the necessity of that system. One can't just say "its no psychological beneficial" because by that logic there are tonnes of things (for e.g. spitting pan) that a few people might not like - not a good enough reason to impose cleanliness.

Also who will account for the psychology of the women? This is gross overlooking of their commute troubles!
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