Why I’m not going to castigate Jeremy Corbyn over women only train carriages

Twitter is having one of its more febrile moments over Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for women-only train carriages.

I actually think that there are reasons to praise Corbyn for floating the idea.

First of all, it’s pretty good to see a male politician think that the issue of sexual assault on public transport is an important one that we should do something about. Where were the other politicians, including Liberal Democrats, when the statistics showing showing an increase in reported sexual assaults came out last week?

Secondly, look at what Corbyn actually said:

Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women only carriages.

My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.

Now that’s novel. Rather than mansplain his way through,  he’s actually proposing to consult women on this idea, which has been brought to him by women. So long as he doesn’t just ask his lefty women friends and gives all women a say on the matter, then that is a good thing. There is a tendency on the left to assume that groups of people all think the same thing. The beauty of liberalism is that we celebrate the fact that they don’t.

As it happens, I think the idea of women-only train carriages is a terrible one. For a start, the sort of low-life who assaults women in this way would be likely to assume that any woman not travelling in a women-only carriage was simply asking for their attention. I tend to agree with Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates, who told the Independent:

I don’t think at all that women-only carriages are the solution – I think it’s a step back. It seems to accept that the problem is inevitable, that men will harass women and that all we can do is contain them.

A solution which discourages women from sharing the same space as men is not in my view desirable.

So what would work? Raising awareness of the problem, as the British Transport Police have done, is important. Corbyn also came up with the idea of a 24 hour hotline to report such crimes. That has merit.

I also think that those of us who use public transport should look out for our fellow travellers. We tend to bury ourselves in our now thoughts and resolutely avoid any sort of interaction with the world around us. Keep an eye out for women who look uncomfortable and intervene to help them. If you see someone being groped on a crowded carriage, get up and offer them your seat or your space and report the perpetrator. These people need to be convicted.

If you want to know more about the sort of behaviour women have to put up with on public transport, read Louise Jones’ account, written for Bea magazine a couple of years ago. It contains some detailed descriptions of what happened to her, so be aware of that before clicking. It eloquently describes the effect of those assaults on women. I’m glad Jeremy Corbyn has spoken out about it, even if I don’t agree with his solution.

UPDATE: Tim Farron has tweeted on the issue. He was on holiday last week when the stats came out so can be forgiven for not commenting then – but some Liberal Democrat should have.

UPDATE 2:

Lynne Featherstone, our former Equalities Minister has made a comment below which is worth putting in the main post. Her views are pretty much aligned with mine:

Corbyn’s thinking takes us back to the dark ages. His motivation may be noble – but corralling women in a special carriage is not the answer. It’s not the women who should have to change their behaviour – it’s the men who harass them. We have cameras virtually everywhere – if the crime rate has escalated on public transport – then catch the perpetrators!

Consultation if needed is great, if listened to and genuine is great – but not everything needs consultation and having fought for womens rights for years – not best pleased with seeing them being suggested for roll back

And if there were women only carriages and because I profoundly disagree and therefore if they existed would go in a normal carriage – would I then be enabling an aggressor to claim I was ‘asking for it’?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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117 Comments

  • …………………..As it happens, I think the idea of women-only train carriages is a terrible one. For a start, the sort of low-life who assaults women in this way would be likely to assume that any woman not travelling in a women-only carriage was simply asking for their attention………..

    Caron you write this and yet seem to see no similarity between trying to stop builders ‘sexual remarks/wolf-whistling’ at women. I’m pretty sure that being told that it’s forbidden would encourage your ‘low lifes’ to do exactly that….

  • “These people need to be convicted.”

    Excellent starting point. Unacceptable behaviour has to be challenged.

    The other point you miss is that if it does happen, often the victim (as in the case of other crimes too) is shocked and doesn’t react as they would expect too, ordinarily you would assume someone would say ‘get your hands off me’ but in the moment people can struggle to know what to do. That also needs to be considered.

  • Jane Ann Liston 26th Aug '15 - 11:04am

    I believe there actually were ‘ladies” railway carriages back in the nineteenth century.

    What I’d like to see are the conductors/guards being more visible and keeping an eye open for trouble. One sometimes feels that they choose to hide away in their compartment if things look a bit difficult; I hope not, though.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th Aug '15 - 11:07am

    Psi, that point is made in the article I linked to from Bea magazine.

  • Simon McGrath 26th Aug '15 - 11:09am

    “Corbyn also came up with the idea of a 24 hour hotline to report such crimes. That has merit.”
    like calling 999 you mean ?

  • Of course we do have women only taxi firms.

    I agree that the way to stop this and other sorts of crime is for other people to come to the defence of anyone being assaulted. It’s easier said than done though.

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Aug '15 - 11:13am

    Quite agree. Corbyn is floating an idea that he claims others have brought to him. Nothing wrong with that.

    Also, our railway infrastructure as a whole is a scary thing to travel on, for some. I went 3 hours on trains between minor stations last Friday night, leaving at 6, arriving at 9ish, poor lighting, stations a long ay away from main streets and housing, multiple changes in dripping, empty draft environments, sat on carriage floors on several of the trains, many of my fellow passengers (male and female) drinking alcohol solidly throughout to make it marginally more pleasurable.

    But women-only carriages don’t entirely address that, and they don’t provide protection for people with other vulnerabilities.

    And I suspect the only way to create women-only carriages would be to abolish first-class. Who’s going to pay for that?

    Wonder what Christian Wolmar thinks.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Aug '15 - 11:18am

    @Jane Ann Liston – those “ladies” carriages were still in use during the 1960s – probably the same carraiges….

    Corbyn’s proposal is akin to blaming a woman for being assaulted by a man. Women should not have to make adjustments to their lifestyle just because some males can’t behave themselves on public transport.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 11:19am

    Another excellent idea from Jeremy Corbyn, to consult women on this matter.

    I am torn on this. I find the idea of segregated carriages an acknowledgement of failure, although I have benefitted from them.

    I’ve travelled across India in 2nd class A/C sleeper carriages where I have been the only woman with three men. I have had my food, delivered to me on the train taken from me and had men pass wind in my face as a deliberate gesture of contempt. On different types of shorter, cheaper journey, I have been ushered onto ‘women only’ carriages and I must say, I have always found the journey rather jolly.

    In this country, I have crossed London at night and taken the night train to the airport. I checked in advance about safety and was told to take a seat in the first carriage behind the driver so that I could hammer on the wall in front if I encountered a problem. I was the only person in the carriage and although concerned when it stopped at stations , no-one entered the carriage. A women only carriage wouldn’t have made the slightest difference to my underlying nervousness.

    On balance, and it is finely balanced, the defiant side of me, would probably make me come out against women only carriages. The level of harassment women face on public transport is unacceptable, but in my opinion, we have to face down men who treat women with contempt or nothing changes.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug '15 - 11:24am

    You may not be willing to castigate Corbyn on this, but I am.

    It’s a fundamentally flawed idea for the reasons outlined by Sarah Wollaston who is quoted today as saying it, “normalises unacceptable attitudes” and points out that, “In countries where women are segregated on public transport, this is a marker for disempowerment not safety”.

    If Corbyn can’t see that, he’s a fool. It isn’t the role of a leader to say, “I don’t care how daft an idea is – if enough people write in to say they want it, I’ll do it.” That isn’t evidence based policy making – it’s unprincipled blowing with the wind. Nor is it somehow liberal – you can accept diversity of opinion whilst having a clear one of your own, expressing it, and saying “if you disagree, maybe I’m not the politician for you”.

    Will he take the same “let’s ask around” approach on bringing back the birch, or denying NHS services to immigrants for example? I bloody well hope not. A bad idea and a retrograde step is just that – you can accept others’ rights to hold such views whilst being totally clear you’re not going to implement them.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Aug '15 - 11:29am

    More security guards or police officers is a better solution. My position on this is different to current popular culture because I think what it says about men is also important whilst saying “it will increase harassment elsewhere” is like saying “women, you are in a bad position whatever we do”.

    His proposals are milder than what I first thought, but still, I can’t say I’m in love with the logic of state imposed gender segregation.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 11:31am

    Nonconformist radical.
    Jeremy Corbyn is not blaming women for being victims, he is acknowledging the fact that on rail journeys, they too often are. Hurrah for that.

    His proposal it to consult women on the best way to tackle this. He himself is not proposing that women change their lifestyle.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Aug '15 - 11:39am

    PS, the point about increasing harassment elsewhere is an important one, but we shouldn’t be afraid to make the positive case against segregation too.

  • We already have segregated train carriages.

    A specially segregated carriage is provided for rich people so that they do not have to mix with the common herd.
    It is called “First Class”.

    It is a bit like the Stephen Fry quote about the purpose of Sainsbury’s supermarkets — ” They are there to keep the scum out of Waitrose.”.

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Aug '15 - 11:52am

    Eddie, Train carriages with more train staff and where train staff can rely on being physically able get down the corridor to patrol the train would be a good start. Security guards would be irrelevant then.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 11:58am

    @ Sir Norfolk Passmore,
    The excellent Sarah Wollaston will be able to give her opinion just as other women will.

    From a different perspective, ‘Women Only’, trains abroad can be seen as a marker of acknowledgment that women are at risk when travelling on trains. It is acnowledgement of the reality rather than the ideal. What is, rather than what should be. Poor people are desperate and despite their thin frames, their desperation makes some violently out of control and surprisingly strong. Women do not have the physical strength to fight back when harassed and attacked.

    On your other point, maybe politicians should listen to the electorate more not less. Using this issue as an attack of Jeremy Corbyn is scraping the barrel.

  • Simon McGrath 26th Aug '15 - 12:10pm

    I agree with John Tilley. Lets get rid of first class carriages – of course we will all have to pay higher fares but that would surely be worth it.

  • Nick Collins 26th Aug '15 - 12:12pm

    @ Jayne Mansfield & Nonconformistradical.

    They were still around in the 1970s. I recall inadvertently getting into one, and being ordered out, while commuting on the Southend-Liverpool Street line.

    But they date from a time when carriages were divided into small compartments (usually with eight seats in second class and six in first), each with its own door (hence my mistake: from a crowded platform, I attempted to board the train via the nearest door, without noticing the “ladies only” sign). I wonder how their advocates would organise them now, given the current fashion in train architecture?

  • There are times when I would not want to travel in a men only compartment.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Aug '15 - 12:16pm

    Jane Ann Liston ” .. I believe there actually were ‘ladies” railway carriages back in the nineteenth century.”
    Nonconformistradical 26th Aug ’15 – 11:18am
    The design of the carriages is relevant. Women only compartments were nearest to the barrier at the station, but in carriages that did not have access to other compartments within the train. Therefore a ticket inspector could not move through the train and enforcement of collection of fares depended on station staff.
    An adult woman with male child/ren would not be allowed to use them. Not all vulnerable people are female.
    JC should talk to Ken Livingstone, former independent/labour mayor of London. The same issue arises on buses, but separation is not practical, except for the driver. Continuous CCTV is installed with screens showing passengers what is happening around the bus. This can be a bit depressing, unless in the four seats upstairs immediately in front of a large window looking at the scenery / architecture.

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Aug ’15 – 11:52am …………….Eddie, Train carriages with more train staff and where train staff can rely on being physically able get down the corridor to patrol the train would be a good start. Security guards would be irrelevant then……………

    Again, I’m more amused than surprised at some of the reactions…..The drive, since privatisation has been to reduce train/station staff…There are many on here calling for unmanned underground trains (to stop those nasty unionised drivers)….Now we need more staff…

    As for…” Corbyn’s proposal is akin to blaming a woman for being assaulted by a man. Women should not have to make adjustments to their lifestyle just because some males can’t behave themselves on public transport”…I just give up! No-one is suggesting that women MUST travel in these carriages just that, like women only taxis, they are available for those who want them……As one who has been pestered on several occasions by drunken women (annoyed that I didn’t join in their end of ‘hen party’ compulsory ‘sing song’) a ‘No Drunks’ carriage seems a good idea…..

    BTW..for many years ‘No Smoking’ carriages were there for those who wished to avoid smokers; I see little difference…

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug '15 - 12:33pm

    Jayne – I’d have more sympathy with Corbyn on this if he expressed a view but said, “but I’m willing to change my mind if the evidence is that there is overwhelming demand”.

    What annoys me (and this will be a Corbyn theme) is that he floats a fundamentally flawed idea – the fundamental flaw being that identified by Sarah Woollaston that it normalises unacceptable attitudes – and says “you can’t criticise me… it might or might not be my view… I’m not saying and haven’t really thought about it”. That isn’t good enough in a leader. It’sclassic political kite flying from someone who’s pitch is that he isn’t like that (ho ho).

    On the substance, your bizarre comment that, “Poor people are desperate and despite their thin frames, their desperation makes some violently out of control and surprisingly strong. Women do not have the physical strength to fight back when harassed and attacked” has to be challenged on a number of levels. Firstly, why is sexual assault suddenly associated with poverty? Secondly, what’s this “thin frames” nonsense all about? Thirdly, (aside from being rather patronising and generalising about women’s strength) it’s not only women who are vulnerable to physical assault – indeed, if you’re extending beyond sexual assault, the actual risk of being attacked (mugged etc) is higher for men. Are we to have special carriages for OAPs or for unfit men like myself?

    The whole idea is just ludicrous on its face and what is much worse tends to reduce the genuinely serious issue of safety on trains to the level of vaguely comical Twitter memes.

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Aug '15 - 12:40pm

    Expats – I am inclined to agree, if you are arguing that the environment that leads to people feeling vulnerable on the railways is effectively chickens coming home to roost from years of asset-stripping and rationing of investment.

    I have never argued on here that there need to be less train staff anywhere in the UK.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug '15 - 12:42pm

    “BTW..for many years ‘No Smoking’ carriages were there for those who wished to avoid smokers; I see little difference…”

    Surely there’s a HUGE and obvious difference which PRECISELY the reason why the idea of women only carriages is terrible.

    If, back in the day, I went on a smoking carriage (as I did sometimes as they were quieter and I was not too bothered about second hand smoke) I was plainly consenting to others smoking around me.

    If, in Corbyn’s proposal, a woman goes on a non-segregated carriage, is she consenting to harrassment? You and I can of course agree she is not – she may not be bothered walking to the female carriage, or may not want to feel segregated for example. But that’s what your analogy with smoking carriages implies, and you can bet it will be the message certain people take from it.

  • I travelled on trains years ago and assaults were extremely rare. So what has happened? Perhaps violent porn being seen as mainstream and what a woman really wants? Why are people becoming more violent all over the world? In India violent porn is rife and see what is happening to women there.

  • Caron

    Just clicked through to the link and seen that now. It is often a problem with crimes against you personally that you don’t know how to react. I imagine that actually some of the public transport incidents may have some mitigation possible. If you actually had posters stating the obvious telling anyone being groped to react, it would undoubtedly be criticised as patronising (almost certainly by the daily mail) but it may help people react faster.

    The 2nd incident in the article is harder I know BTP have cases of people behaving like this but are unable to deal with it after the fact as they can’t identify the perpetrator, and if alone in a carriage it is hard to address.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 12:51pm

    @ Simon McGrath,
    What are the economics of having segregated first class carriages?

    I have sometimes had to travel last minute without an advanced saver that guarantees me a seat and have made long journeys standing on a crowded train or sitting on a suitcase pr floor of the entrance, having passed first class carriages that are empty or almost empty.

    @ Martin,
    Where Sarah Wollaston-s argument is flawed, re: symbol of women’s place in society, in India where I have worked and used the train extensively, one doesn’t have to use the women only carriage, it is an choice.

    As a man, might still find yourself in a mixed carriage even if women only trains were introduced in the UK.

  • A Nonny Mouse 26th Aug '15 - 12:56pm

    There are segregated carriages for women across the world, for example in the Cairo metro. Most trains run with three carriages, but the middle of those is for women only. There are particular reasons for this – there is a bit of a culture of sexual harassment at times – but generally it is observed and women there feel safe. I’m not sure it’ll go anywhere in the UK, but it’s an idea worth floating and, like Corbyn says, taking views on it.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug ’15 – 12:42pm ……………..If, in Corbyn’s proposal, a woman goes on a non-segregated carriage, is she consenting to harrassment? You and I can of course agree she is not – she may not be bothered walking to the female carriage, or may not want to feel segregated for example. But that’s what your analogy with smoking carriages implies, and you can bet it will be the message certain people take from it…………

    You haven’t just grown an oak from an acorn: you’ve grown a whole forest….

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug '15 - 1:06pm

    Expats – you said you couldn’t understand the difference between “no smoking” carriages for those wishing to avoid smoking and “female only” carriages for those wishing to avoid harrassment. I was merely explaining it for the hard of thinking.

  • John Tilley 26th Aug '15 - 1:08pm

    We also have segregated carriages for people who like a bit of quiet. Passengers are asked to go elsewhere to use their mobile phones. Quite right too.

    My family and I were in a quiet carriage on a trip to Portsmouth. The only other people in the carriage were three very smartly dressed black women. It was Sunday so half an hour after they had sat down the three women started singing hymns. They were not singing on their mobile phones so this was completely in order.

    Mary Reid may remember that when we were in Holland many years ago travelling on a tram a jazz band got into the carriage. They took out their instruments and played for the rest of the journey. I think that was before the days of mobile phones.

  • Actually something I missed when first reading the piece.

    “Now that’s novel. Rather than mansplain his way through, he’s actually proposing to consult women on this idea, which has been brought to him by women.”

    If someone provided legitimate criticism of a proposal is their opinion irrelevant on the basis of their gender?

    In terms of the effectiveness of this suggestion, this is mainly a problem when carriages are either very full or empty (Mainly commuter trains or late night trains). A carriage with half the seats full is less likely to present the opportunity for perportrators.

    For the empty, how many women prefer to sit alone in a women-only carriage late at night (bearing in mind for a potential offender jumping on one as the doors are closing would be nothing) as opposed sitting in a carriage with 5 men (of varying demographics) sat separately. I would suggest that the latter would feel safer, particularly on late night rural trains.

    As to busy commuter trains, what happens when there is space on a women-only carriage but the rest are full, how long do the men have to wait on the platform, particularly when there is disruption.
    What about when the women-only cariages are very full? Will some men cuing for the carriages that they are allowed on be rude to women trying to get on the same carriage “you have a carriage down there” when the stress is up, will women feel pressured to give way to men getting on the “mixed” carriages. When you have the small lines with 4 carriages and trains 15 to 20 minutes apart disruption has a huge impact.

    Ideas like this are thrown out easily but you quickly find it looks a bit different when it collides with reality. Perfectly OK to say people have suggested it and you would consult, but he should have shown he had actually given it some basic consideration and understood the issue.

    Caron
    The question I would ask is, if Corbyn had pointed out any of these flaws when he raised it, would that have been “mansplaining?” Would his criticism of an idea been unacceptable but Sarah Wollaston’s different critique been right? If SW made the same criticism would it suddenly become valid? Identity politics is best avoided, it quickly devours itself ideas should stand on their merits.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 1:28pm

    @ Sir Norfolk Passmore,
    Let me explain. It is hard to unravel the motivation of some of the male perpetrators in some of the places that I have worked, sometimes it may be theft from someone weaker than themselves followed by opportunist sexual assault or sometimes vice versa. To the desperate, even the sight of a 50 rupee watch on a woman’s wrist can lead to both.

    My mentioning the amazing strength of malnourished men was, I acknowledge, bizarre, my mind went off into reminiscence and how shocked I was that a well fed woman could be overpowered by someone of such slight build.
    Apologies for that.

    In the areas of country where I have worked, the comment about the differing strength of women is valid, although one might not notice it if one observes the apparent strength of women workers. There are women who as well as suffering from malnutrition have low haemoglobin levels because of monthly menstruation and childbirth adding to their lack of physical strength. If you re- read my comment you will see that I was challenging Dr Sarah Wollaston ‘s assertion that in some countries female only carriages are not about female empowerment not safety and I would argue that that generalisation is moot.

    Of course one should look at evidence. There is already some evidence on the issue and before introducing s a new policy , he is going to check for more, or are surveys of women’s opinions no longer considered a form of evidence collection?

    If you have concerns about male safety, deal with it. I am a woman and I am concerned about the harassment and attacks on women. It seems that Jeremy Corbyn is too.

    Having been dismissive of the number of articles about him, the more I learn about him on here, the more I warm to him. More than I can say about some of the men who rule the the party that I mistakenly voted for for too many years.

  • John Tilley 26th Aug '15 - 2:09pm

    If we do get women only carriages — will they have glass ceilings ?

  • Psi 26th Aug ’15 – 1:21pm …Caron….. The question I would ask is, if Corbyn had pointed out any of these flaws when he raised it, would that have been “mansplaining?” Would his criticism of an idea been unacceptable but Sarah Wollaston’s different critique been right? If SW made the same criticism would it suddenly become valid? Identity politics is best avoided, it quickly devours itself ideas should stand on their merits…

    As Caron pointed out, what Corbyn actually said was,”Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women only carriages. My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”

    It sounds sensible to me but it is criticised on one hand as him implying that women are to blame for assaults and on the other for him not claiming it as his idea….He has merely said that it is one idea in an overall plan to make travel safer for all.

    Getting building contractors to promise not to ‘wolf-whistle’ is not patronising if put forward by a libDem but I wonder what the reaction here would have been if Corbyn had suggested it. I’d further suggest that if Tim Farron had said the same thing the thread headline would be…”Tim is open to women’s views in attempting to make travel safer” followed by posts saying what a wonderful idea it was!……..

  • Richard Underhill 26th Aug '15 - 2:23pm

    Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug ’15 – 12:42pm ” … she may not be bothered walking to the female carriage, .. ”
    She may do that on the platform, at departure and arrival, but within the train it depends on the design of the carriages and whether there is any effective enforcement which would prevent or contain an intended offender.

  • Ref my post 26th Aug ’15 – 2:15pm …I’d meant to add that this article on transport is part of Corbyn’s “End street Harassment” proposal where he says, “It is unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed on the street, public transport, and in other public places from the park to the supermarket. This could include taking longer routes to work, having self imposed curfews, or avoiding certain means of transport”…He goes on to praise, and promise to work with, such groups as “Everyday Sexism” and “Stop Street Harassment”..

    Instead of praising such ideas, items are taken out of context and used as yet another stick to beat him with…

  • expats

    My specific point was about what value “mansplaining” added. Identity politics seems to be infecting discussions in a very unhealthy way, in the same way continued sexism creeps in to political discussion (treatments of the female candidates for Labour leader seems to highlight the irrelevant), so should be challenged whenever these damaging distractions are brought in.

    More broardly my criticism of Corbyn was just to say “some people want …, what do you think?” I prefer people to at least kick off with some observations showing they have considered the issue.

    As to your point about whether a Tim Farron suggestion would get a better headline I think it would depend on who wrote it. I would equally expect some kind of recognition of strengths and weaknesses if he wanted to suggest something not just a “what do a specific group of people think.” I’m happy to say an idea is bad regardless of who makes it.

    Your concern about other peoples’ arguments would be better directed at those who made them, to answer.

  • The word “mansplain” is sexist and should not be used on a Liberal website

  • Richard Stallard 26th Aug '15 - 3:14pm

    I’m pretty sure that ISIS would back a policy of women-only carriages on public transport.

  • Lynne Featherstone 26th Aug '15 - 3:35pm

    Corbyn’s thinking takes us back to the dark ages. His motivation may be noble – but corralling women in a special carriage is not the answer. It’s not the women who should have to change their behaviour – it’s the men who harass them. We have cameras virtually everywhere – if the crime rate has escalated on public transport – then catch the perpetrators!

    Consultation if needed is great, if listened to and genuine is great – but not everything needs consultation and having fought for womens rights for years – not best pleased with seeing them being suggested for roll back

    And if there were women only carriages and because I profoundly disagree and therefore if they existed would go in a normal carriage – would I then be enabling an aggressor to claim I was ‘asking for it’?

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 3:40pm

    @ Lynne Featherstone, you would be going into an mixed carriage because you chose to.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 3:49pm

    @ Richard Stallard,
    I can’t speak for ISIS and wouldn’t want to, but a comment from you has made me feel that I need to clarify a certain point.

    Not all asian men in developing countries are chauvinists and not all asian women in those countries are under a man’s thumb.

    The people I work with have worked with have been been Indian and Nepali. Any funding has been from local philanthropists. Both the men and the women have been feminists and they have done the most wonderful work to help the less fortunate in dangerous and extremely unpleasant conditions .

    They could teach some of the men and women over here how to have equality and mutual respect between the genders.

  • Nick Collins 26th Aug '15 - 4:09pm

    @ John Tilley

    “If we do get women only carriages — will they have glass ceilings ?”

    Only in First Class.

  • Lynne featherstone “Corbyn’s thinking takes us back to the dark ages”

    It’s not Corbyn’s thinking, though. Some women have suggested it to him and he has responded by saying he will consult more women. How is that so bad?

  • @John Tilley “My family and I were in a quiet carriage on a trip to Portsmouth. The only other people in the carriage were three very smartly dressed black women. It was Sunday so half an hour after they had sat down the three women started singing hymns. They were not singing on their mobile phones so this was completely in order.”

    On all the trains I’ve ever travelled in, the Quiet Carriage is not exclusively to stop people from speaking on mobile phones, but to avoid excessive noise of all types (such as loud or boisterous behaviour, excessive noise from headphones, etc. Your three hymn-singers were therefore out of order.

    It is sad that we have to have Quiet Carriages for a degree of civilised behaviour, but there we are.

  • Nick Collins 26th Aug ’15 – 4:09pm
    “@ John Tilley

    “If we do get women only carriages — will they have glass ceilings ?”

    Only in First Class.”

    Thank you for that much needed laugh 🙂

  • It would be nice for both men and women if there were enough space on trains. The train company could be encouraged to provide the planned number of carriages during the rushhour and not skip stations to make up time.

  • Richard Stallard 26th Aug '15 - 4:51pm

    “Not all asian men in developing countries are chauvinists and not all asian women in those countries are under a man’s thumb.”
    Of course, but Labour seem to think they are – remember their segregated rally at Hodge Hill, Birmingham back in May? Hence it’s little surprise they support this idea. Keep the women in their place and those postal votes’ll just keep rolling in!

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug '15 - 5:04pm

    Jayne – you’re not really engaging on a more than superficial level with either Lynne’s or Richard’s points.

    Lynne is saying that some men would read a decision not to take part in segregation as consent to harrassment. They’d be wrong, but you can’t ignore how it would be treated, and the inevitable statistical fact that “non-female-only” carriages would be more overwhelmingly male pretty clearly would be a step back towards treating public spaces as men’s spaces. You just seem unwilling to engage meaningfully with the point.

    On Richard’s point, you’re creating a straw man by saying that not all asian men are chauvinists, and not all asian women are under a man’s thumb… a point that nobody was arguing or could rationally argue. The point is that, while there are many, many respectful men and liberated women in these countries, the figures tend to suggest that a woman travelling alone on public transport is at much greater risk than she would be in the UK or Europe more broadly. That doesn’t mean all men are at it – just that it’s an even bigger problem elsewhere. And why? Well, cultural and religious attitudes about public space being male space are more prevelant there… and the Corbyn idea is clearly a retrograde step in that direction.

  • Lynne Featherstone,
    The bit you call ‘back to the dark ages’ is a small part of Corbyn’s “End street Harassment” proposal where he says, “It is unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed on the street, public transport, and in other public places from the park to the supermarket. This could include taking longer routes to work, having self imposed curfews, or avoiding certain means of transport”…He goes on to praise, and promise to work with, such groups as “Everyday Sexism” and “Stop Street Harassment”..

    Do you disagree with that too?

  • Matt (Bristol) 26th Aug '15 - 5:15pm

    I continue to be amazed that no-one has said that they object to this proposal because they fee a government should minimise the extent to which it tells private companies (or semi-private, or quasi-public, or whatever the train operators are) what to do. Not even the ‘orange bookers’ on here. So, I say it for them.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore “the Corbyn idea is clearly a retrograde step in that direction.”

    It’s not a “Corbyn idea” though. It was suggested to him by women and all he has saupd is he will ask other women about that and other ways to protect women.

    Richard Stallard you’re jumping the gun a bit by saying “Labour support the idea”.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 5:25pm

    @ Phyllis,
    As I have said, on balance , if asked, I would be opposed to them. Even abroad, I don’t see them as see something that might be necessary forever if the wider problem can be solved.

    However, it is not my decision and I believe that women should be allowed to make the choice about making trains journeys safer after being presented with all available evidence and women should be involved in the planning and designing etc. of a safer system.

    You might be interested in a study by Middlesex University, ‘What works’ in reducing sexual harassment sexual offences on public transport Nationally and Internationally: A rapid evidence Assessment. It was commissioned by Tory MP Clare Perry earlier this year. I am still unsure if an evaluation of Project Guardian has been completed.

  • Tony Dawson 26th Aug '15 - 5:42pm

    Caeon knpws that in a woman-only train carriage, she would never be bored by Jeremy Corbyn starting up a conversation?

    Anyway, a (female) Tory Minister floated this (Japanese) idea in public initially.

  • @Matt (Bristol) “Not even the ‘orange bookers’ on here. So, I say it for them.”

    And I salute you, sir!

  • Richard Stallard 26th Aug '15 - 6:51pm

    “Richard Stallard you’re jumping the gun a bit by saying “Labour support the idea’.”
    Perhaps, but you have to look at the wider context:

    Why did Labour open the floodgates to unrestricted immigration? To increase their vote share and (as they said themselves) “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity” at the same time.
    Why did they increase benefits to unaffordable levels? To keep those they imported on-side and willing to vote for them so long as the money kept rolling in.
    Why did they introduce postal voting on demand? Again, to help their vote when the head of the family fills in everyone’s postal vote for them, and other similar electoral fraud (Tower Hamlets!!)

    So, why support this idea? Again, to pander to their imported voter-base, many of whom see it only right that their women and menfolk are segregated. If one has lived in the Middle East – as I have – you will know that such segregation is a way of life. They won’t change their ways just because they come to live in a kuffir country!

    So, given their past record, it is probable that Labour will, indeed, support the idea.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th Aug '15 - 6:54pm

    @Danny: The word mansplain describes a form of sexist behaviour that is frequently experienced by women and calling it out is exactly the right thing to do on a liberal website.

    That’s quite a piece of whataboutery when actually the issue in question is the serious one of sexual assault of women on public transport.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 8:03pm

    @ Sir Norfolk Passmore,
    That is is for women themselves to make a risk assessment and make a decision.

    My swimming pool has ladies ‘sessions and mixed sessions. There are some women who feel ogled and judged at the men’s mixed sessions and for this reason the women’s sessions continue. I attend both. I do not worry that because I attend the mixed sessions men might think I have given my consent to be ogled or to endure sniggering at my body shape, or inappropriate touching when I swim past. Men have never, to the best of my knowledge been reported for inappropriate treatment of women .

    Women can make a choice. Why do you want to infantilise women by prejudging what women will decide on the desirability of ‘Women Only’ trains, or whether if they existed , they would choose to sit in them?

    The important thing is that women are involved in making the decision, and by that I mean women including working class women, women of colour, disabled women, gay women, and not just the outraged middle class, university educated feminists . ( Clare Perry Yvette Cooper et al. who think that they can speak up for all women. There is no universal experience of women, other than that determined by their biology, and too often those who don’t push themselves forward have their voices crowded out.

    I believe that the burkha is an appalling symbol of male oppression that women should not wear because it takes us back to the dark age, (am I allowed to say that on this illiberal, Liberal website? ). However, I don’t tell women what they should wear even though it offends my particular feminist sensibilities and there is an argument to be that the wearing of the garment damages the wider feminist cause. It is for the individual woman to decide.

    I was not setting up a straw man with Richard. In response to his extreme example, I wanted to clarify my position after my criticism of the behaviour of some men on a train and other behaviour I have experienced. I felt bad about it. Coming from a country where on average two women are killed every week by their partner or ex partner, I don’t want to sit in judgement on whether other countries are still in the dark ages in terms of treatment of women.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '15 - 8:23pm

    @ Sir Norfolk Passmore,
    Could you provide me with the statistics that women are at greater risk travelling in certain countries than in the UK and specify which countries they are? This is a genuine request.

  • I just love the way the media has grabbed on to this story with both hands and their outlets are full of earnest discussion around “Corbyn’s proposal”, even though it was a suggestion brought to him. I think he has actually played this very well, as Caron indicates, he has aired the idea, shown that he has listened and effectively parked it (by saying he will consultant and consider), without indicating or being drawn on where he actually stands with respect to this particular proposal. I think there is a lesson in there.

  • Matt (Bristol)

    “I continue to be amazed that no-one has said that they object to this proposal because they fee a government should minimise the extent to which it tells private companies […] what to do.”

    Well there is the issue of the default Labour left way of doing things, but if we assume that politicians can also influence by pursuasion we also should look at the underlying idea ( which currently seems to be lacking arguments in its favour).

  • Matt (Bristol)

    “I am inclined to agree, if you are arguing that the environment that leads to people feeling vulnerable on the railways is effectively chickens coming home to roost from years of asset-stripping and rationing of investment.”

    I’m not sure what assets have been stripped as train opating companies don’t have many, the infrastructure is network rail and the rolling stock is leased.

    Rationing of investment is far worse under public ownership when cuts hit suddenly and borrowing scheduled to meet governmemt borrowing limitations.

    Investment levels can be negotiated in to the franchises.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Aug '15 - 10:36pm

    As a resident “Orange Booker”, I actually did raise the point about state intervention by saying “state imposed gender segregation.”.

    To be honest, if Virgin wanted to try out this idea, I wouldn’t be too fussed, but because it came from a politician, and was related to Corbyn, it made me like it less. I don’t trust Corbyn to ask the necessary questions. He hardly has a history of looking at “both sides of the argument”. Or if he does, we pretty much know who he is going to side with.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Aug '15 - 11:25pm

    Sir Norfolk Passmore 26th Aug ’15 – 5:04pm There is more than one richard on this thread.

  • Caron, please don’t use the juvenile and sexist word “mansplaining” in a serious article. Language that might be fun in the pub demeans the good points you made in LDV.

  • So this is the litmus issue of the Labour leadership contest? Oh well, I expect that it was well intended.
    It’s also appalling nonsense. Trains and buses should be made safe for everyone to travel on, and until something is done to that end, sadly, women only carriages would be no more guarantor of a safe a haven than quiet carriages currently are quiet, or paying for a reserved seat means that you will actually get a seat.
    And the last time that I was bothered on a train it was by a gaggle of drunken women. In first class, as it happens.

  • Dave Orbison 27th Aug '15 - 7:02am

    The issue Corbyn has raised is whether or not women feel safe on public transport; if not what could be done and to explore options through consultation. It is not Left, Right, sexist etc. or any other label that some people are falling over themselves to use as nothing more than an excuse to attack Corbyn. Talk about tribalism. Some of the things stated here are fantasy. As a gay many I welcomed the safety of going to gay bars when I came out in the 1970’s. Yes it was segregation. Of course homophobia was wrong then as now. No I was not forced to go to gay bars. It was simply a safer option and I am grateful for it. I do not know or care if such bars were the brainchild of a Left/Right/whatever. Who cares? Caron deserves credit for raising the issue and with an open mind. Those seeing this as anything else need to get a life.

  • Dave Orbison 27th Aug '15 - 7:06am

    @johnmc There is a world of difference between having one 1st Class travel experience being spoilt and being in fear of your safety. To suggest that we do nothing until ‘all of a sudden’ people behave as they should seems wishful thinking. But above all rather than us guys pontificate how about consulting with women as proposed? The world won’t end if we do.

  • Bad idea! Repressive religions use ‘the protection of women’ as their reason for enforced segregation instead of sorting the men out. It wouldn’t be too long before social and tabloid pressures would make women feel obliged to use women only railway carriages, for fear of the perception others might feel entitled to have were a woman to decide she preferred to travel in a mixed sex carriage.

  • Dave Orbison good points!

    I’m not a supporter of women-only carriages but I don’t like the way this is being used to attach Jeremy Corbyn. On another thread people are defining Lib Dems by using the word ‘fairness’. Well it’s hardly been ‘fair’ how people have attacked Corbyn on here, for taking ideas brought to him by women seriously. I notice no-one seems to have any ideas of their own, or practical solutions whereas Corbyn is actually trying to end all street harassment against women, as outlined by Expats above. Lib Dems please take a step back and just listen to yourselves!

  • johnmc 27th Aug ’15 – 1:57am

    “So this is the litmus issue of the Labour leadership contest? ”

    Where do you get that idea from?

  • I’ve just read the updates in the main article above. I’m a bit disappointed that Tim has time to tweet about this issue but not to engage with people on here. I thought he was a bit more grounded than that. Fair play to Lynne Featherstone for posting a comment here but she hasn’t been back to engage with people’s responses to her comment.

    It saddens me that Lib Dems have this ‘ celebrity’ attitude to their leaders or former senior people that any comments by them have to be added to the main article ( why? Are they ‘better’ than other Lib Dems?) and the leader of this now very small party has no time to have a discussion in here with fellow Lib Dems and other interested parties. I thought Lib Dems would be more ” equal” than that.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 8:20am

    @ Matt (Bristol),
    I have been reading posts on here since 2010, and as far as I remember, there was no Liberal democrat comment or objection when Patrick Mccloughlin Secretary for State for Transport in the coalition government, in 2014 told train companies to reduce the number of their first class carriages.

    At least there seems some consistency as far as lack of objection to government interference in the way private companies are run is concerned.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 8:25am

    @ Richard Underhill,
    Don’t fret Richard, Even if one was reading the posts blind without seeing the surnames, it would by easy to identify which Richard wrote which.

    I enjoy reading your posts by the way. Your humanity shines through.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 8:28am

    @ Roland,
    Indeed Roland, as did Tory Claire Perry a considerable time before him. Why no comment then?

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 8:41am

    @ Nick Collins,
    I apologise for not responding earlier.

    I suspect that the current architecture will mean that any proposal for ‘women only’ carriages will be impractical and after all the hysteria about Jeremy Corbyn, the new devil incarnate, even if women wanted them, the practicalities would make the idea unworkable.

    Oh dear, I hope that my use of the word ‘hysteria’ does not send out the wrong message to misogynistic men.

  • Some years ago when in my twenties I had the scariest experience of my life. Some young soldiers were sexually harassing a young woman on her own. I am male and plucked up my courage to suggest they leave her alone. They then suggested that they could do me instead. Thank goodness the train arrived at a station and the young woman and I got off and shared a taxi to the stop to which we were going. Frankly it is something which has stayed with me. I never saw the woman again but probably stayed with her. These guys were Royal Marine commandos so we would not have stood a chance. The carriages on that train were not interconnecting.

  • George Potter 27th Aug '15 - 8:50am

    @MBoy

    Mansplaining is a thing. I’m a man and I don’t have any problem with the term as it describes a specific, patronising behaviour type where men (because men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators) talk down to women and explain how they know better about women’s own lived experiences.

    The most classic example being the man who patiently explained a female author’s own book to them despite not having even read it.

  • George Potter 27th Aug '15 - 8:50am
  • Hannah Bettsworth 27th Aug '15 - 9:04am

    It’s rare that I’ll say this as a member of ‘Young Economic Liberals’, but I agree with George Potter. This isn’t an MRA site (despite some of the comments) so people will have to deal with the use of feminist terms.

  • Richard Stallard 27th Aug '15 - 10:13am

    MBoy,

    You forget – “discrimination” only ever works one way. If you’re white and male, you can NEVER be discriminated against. That’s the rules set by the professional victims.

  • @George Potter – invert the term to “womansplaining” and see whether it’s acceptable.

    Patronising behaviour is not a gender-specific trait and shouldn’t be labelled as such. To do so is sexist.

  • Paul WalterPaul Walter 27th Aug ’15 – 9:12am
    “@Phyllis – he’s on holiday. I wouldn’t expect any leader of the party to engage with comments here. they’d have to be insane. They’d be twisted up in knots by the usual suspects and wouldn’t have time to go to the loo, let alone lead the party.”

    I know it can get edgy on here sometimes but it’s nowhere near as feral as Twitter!

  • Oh heck I find myself in agreement with TCO! I don’t like terms which lump a whole group of people together either. It’s the same when people label people ” haters” on social media. It’s just lazy and has shades of bullying.

    Better go lie down.

  • Nick Collins 27th Aug '15 - 10:21am

    “Mansplaining”. The good news is that i have learned a new word today. The bad news is that I am unlikely to add it to my vocabulary.

  • Looks like my reply to George Potter got deleted by the mods (lol), but it basically said the same as TCO.

  • Madmacs Much respect to you! You were very brave and did the right thing. It just shows how true it is that ‘ all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing’ . If only there were more brave people like you.

  • Richard Stallard 27th Aug '15 - 10:32am

    It doesn’t really mean anything – it’s just one of those terms used to end an argument the word’s user is losing, particularly if (heaven forbid!) facts are introduced to back up the argument..
    People used to say “Yeah, whatever” (which intentionally dismisses and gives little opportunity for comeback) and this is pretty much the same.

  • This one seems to be going all over. Firstly for those who are generalising from one (or perhaps two) peoepl’s comments perhaps you should stop generalising without any wider, address people on their individual comments.

    For those saying they don’t understand why this is a big thing now that Corbyn is being attacked for, ikt is because it is silly season, it is what happens at this time of year a small issue gets blown up runs it course, then gets regurgitated over and over with increasing silliness.

    Also for anyone saying Corbyn is blaming victims / imposing ISIS rule, he clearly is not he is doing a bad job of talking about public policy. If he wants to discuss an idea he should raise it showing he has thought about it not just regurgitated someone else’s idea but it is nothing extreme.

  • Caron, George Potter, Hannah Bettsworth.

    Regardless of the merits of the term “mansplaining” which I think we appear to be about to disappear down a rabbit hole over, is it relevant in this context?

    If we for the moment accept Georges’s gender studies-esk definition:
    “patronising behaviour type where men […] talk down to women and explain how they know better about women’s own lived experiences.”
    This is not a discussion about someone’s experience it is about a public policy response (or potentially an organised piece of collective action by private providers) to an experience. That response will intern cause responses in both women and men (including the tiny minority who are perpetrators), which then determine what the effect is.

    Please explain what the value the term “mansplaining” brings to the discussion?

  • BBC Radio 4 this morning, “MANSPREADING” has now found its way into The Oxford English Dictionary.

    More relevant to a discussion of women only carriages, perhaps?

  • Phylis

    “I notice no-one seems to have any ideas of their own, or practical solutions”

    I think any discussion is getting lost in the ‘noise’ of other things.

    The issue is that when it comes to public transport it seems (as I did say above) it is a problem of either very empty carriages or very full carriages.

    As with most of crimes against the person, the victim often doesn’t know how to respond, due to the shock of the event (that includes crimes that predominantly affect women like sexual assault on trains or those which predominantly affect men like violent assault). So for the purposes of addressing the issue of these crimes on trains the violent assult is not the same issue on crowded trains (people can see it hapening) but both are a risk on empty trains.

    For empty trains I don’t have a suggestion, but the “women-only carriages” are at least as equally likely to be empty late a night so it is not a solution there.

    On crowded trains, the best response is helping the victim to raise the alarm at the time the incident happens, that was what my suggestion above of the posters which would be branded ‘patronising’ of saying something like ‘if someone is groping you, loudly tell them to stop and ask other passengers for help.’ They would seem silly an obvious but in a stressed situation some people react better just following instructions (the alternative is to train people to respond but that is impractical).

    The women-only carriages could have other side effects as I mentioned above so are best avoided.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 11:36am

    @ madmacs,
    That was incredibly brave of you. You deserve the utmost respect for that.

  • Paul Walter 27th Aug ’15 – 9:12am………………..Phyllis – he’s on holiday. I wouldn’t expect any leader of the party to engage with comments here. they’d have to be insane. They’d be twisted up in knots by the usual suspects and wouldn’t have time to go to the loo, let alone lead the party…..

    Ah, ” the usual suspects” argument again.. A term coined for those who disagreed with the direction that Clegg/Alexander/Laws were taking the party. I wonder how that turned out?

  • Paul
    Does that make YOU one of the usual suspects?

  • Acording to the FT women-only compartment were last used in 1977:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d51989f6-4bfe-11e5-9b5d-89a026fda5c9.html#axzz3jkaCUFut

  • @Mad macs you should have reported the incident to their CO. Military punishment can be severe.

  • A Social Liberal 27th Aug '15 - 2:04pm

    Whilst I would not want to minimise Madmacs (and the woman he defended) horrific experience – how do you know they were Royal Marines. TCO, even if Madmacs had identified the servicemen as Royal Marines how would Madmacs been able to identify their unit in order to report them to their CO?

    If the servicemens behaviour had been unlawful (and there is [or was] always the catch-all of section 69 of the Army Act 1955) the best solution would have been to alert the British Transport Police who would have shown the young men the errors of their ways.

  • Paul Walter 27th Aug ’15 – 12:38pm ……Well I don’t think so, Expats. I thought it meant, and I was certainly meaning it to mean, our revered commenters who have enough time to post vast numbers of comments, year in year out. They represent a number of strands of opinion…..But your reply to me makes my point brilliantly. Anyone who comments here needs to be ready, and have sufficient time, to deal with people coming back with replies which don’t necessarily strictly address what they actually said. So often one is spent using up one’s valuable time saying “Well, no, that is not what I actually meant” and then getting a million hair splittings and angels dancing on the head of a pin arguments, not to mention a healthy dollop of “nah, na, na, na, nahs” in response – and I think Liberal Democrat leaders have better things to do…….

    Paul, points well made…The trouble with ‘angels on pins and ‘Nahs, etc….the posts are either one sentence or, conversely, twenty paragraphs long….

    BTW..back to the argument of women not using ‘women only’ being deemed as “asking for it” ( mods; Lynne Featherstone’s words, not mine) I’ve just received a local free-paper with a prominent ad. for “Women Only Sessions” (as Jayne Mansfield’s post) at the local swimming baths….I wonder what Lynne and Sir Norfolk Passmore think?

    For the record, like Corbyn, I don’t believe it’s the answer but on late night trains such a carriage with a good security camera may help….

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th Aug '15 - 2:30pm

    Jayne Mansfield:
    “I have been reading posts on here since 2010, and as far as I remember, there was no Liberal democrat comment or objection when Patrick Mccloughlin Secretary for State for Transport in the coalition government, in 2014 told train companies to reduce the number of their first class carriages.

    At least there seems some consistency as far as lack of objection to government interference in the way private companies are run is concerned.”

    Well, there is a seeming inconsistency, but not an insurmountable one in my view. Legislative interference in how many cheap tickets can be sold on the railways goes back to the mid-19th century when we had a wholly private system. This is pricing regulation. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything in the legislation that would prevent companies siting ‘cheap’ ticket-holders right next to ‘first-class’ ticket-holders. McLoughlin was tinkering with an existing system not building an entirely new one.

    By contrast, Government intervention (assuming that’s what Corbyn has in mind, which is not clear) to impose gender segregation would be utterly without precedent. When women-only carriages existed previously, it was at the companies’ own initiative (can’t comment on why they were removed, but I suspect ministers were not involved, even though it was under BR in the 70s).

    I said ‘minimise the extent’ to which governments intervene; I did _not_ say all intervention was inherently wrong…

  • Matt (Bristol)

    “can’t comment on why they were removed, but I suspect ministers were not involved”

    from the FT:

    “Some academic research has suggested that female compartments were unpopular even in the late 19th century. David Turner, an associate lecturer in railway studies at the University of York, said that by the time of the first world war, many train companies had phased them out because they were underused and made no financial sense. “

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th Aug '15 - 2:49pm

    Psi – David Turner is one of the best new young writers and researchers in railway history, IMHO, and if he says it, I’d trust it. You should all go read his blogs.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug '15 - 6:49pm

    expats,
    It is the final straw.

    Women are allowed to dress as they like, and sit where they like. They are never ‘asking for it’. They should never have to ask themselves that question.

    THE END

  • Shirley Campbell 28th Aug '15 - 12:45am

    I find posts on these subjects to be extremely painful.

    Women are, and always have been, extremely vulnerable. I thank Lynne Featherstone for her stand on FMG. I also stand with any woman who feels herself vulnerable on public transport.

    I am old and no longer have to travel on public transport but I would never, ever dismiss the concerns of women who do have to do so. Back yonder, we had guards on trains. Back yonder, we had fellow passengers who we could call upon in an emergency . Now, we have nothing.

  • Jayne Mansfield

    “They are never ‘asking for it’.”

    I think you are misinterpreting some of the comments on here, I can’t see any one suggesting that. I don’t think any one on here would disagree with your statement. This is a discussion of how safety can be improved.

    Shirley Campbell

    “we had fellow passengers who we could call upon in an emergency”

    I think that is still the case. The problem occurs where there are either no other passengers around (late night, empty carriages) or the train is so busy others don’t notice what is happening and the victim is so shocked that they don’t ask for help. If we all assume that no one will help people in distress we are really assuming a horrible dystopia, we are not there.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Aug ’15 – 6:49pm……………..expats, It is the final straw.

    Women are allowed to dress as they like, and sit where they like. They are never ‘asking for it’. They should never have to ask themselves that question. THE END

    I think you’ve completely misunderstood my argument. I, too, believe women should never ask that question….My argument was that those choosing to ‘mix’ SHOULD NOT be deemed to be at fault…..The argument of Lynne and Sir Norfolk Passmore appeared to suggest that some men might take such mixing as an invitation; my post was a rebuttal of that excuse.

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug '15 - 3:17pm

    No expats, I just expressed myself badly. Not for the first time!

    I am in absolute agreement with you.

    The sort of maladjusted individuals who think women ‘are asking for it’, would be thinking that of women in a carriage whether the woman had opted to use a ‘women only’ carriage or otherwise. They already think that sort of thing when there is no carriage for ‘woman only’. They are not ‘normal’ and they already exist on trains and buses that women travel on.

    I find that idea that such a change would lead to women having to change their behaviour, not the perpetrators, weak. Women already change their behaviour because of the existence of these people. Avoiding trains that they perceive as unsafe, taking taxis rather than using public transport. hanging onto the keys in their pocket with a car key at the ready in case of the need for defence, etc. Many years ago, I attended a ‘Suzie Lamplough’ workshop on self- defence.

    Social education in school and other interventions take time, women suffer fear of intimidation and worse, in the here and now. That is why I think that a wide spread of women should be consulted, and not just middle class feminists like myself, and applaud Jeremy Corbyn’s attention to this.

    I hope I have expressed myself correctly this once. Having said that this is the end, I don’t want to make more come-backs than the late Dot Squires!

  • Jayne Mansfield…..Sorry (no need to respond)

  • John Tilley 28th Aug '15 - 3:34pm

    Jayne Mansfield
    Dorothy Squires !!!
    Just in case you are losing some of your younger readers —
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=dorothy+squires&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

    I only knew because of the Roger Moore link. 😉

  • Malcolm Todd 28th Aug '15 - 4:05pm

    Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug ’15 – 3:17pm
    No expats, I just expressed myself badly. Not for the first time!

    Everyone gets misunderstood (or misses the point) from time to time, Jayne, but I know of no one who expresses themselves as clearly and fairly as you on this site.

  • Malcolm Todd 28th Aug ’15 – 4:05pm
    “Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug ’15 – 3:17pm
    No expats, I just expressed myself badly. Not for the first time!

    Everyone gets misunderstood (or misses the point) from time to time, Jayne, but I know of no one who expresses themselves as clearly and fairly as you on this site.”

    Hear, hear! Always enjoy your contributions Jayne, and have learnt a lot from you.

  • I think really we need to encourage people to step in when it’s seen and maybe have more security on trains. The problem with women only carriages is that it normalises segregation which could have unforeseen consequences.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raynes 18th Jul - 9:19pm
    The argument about legalisation of Cannabis, in the UK anyway, has been overtaken by events. Apart from the mental ill health it causes, it is...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 18th Jul - 9:14pm
    @katharine Pindar I was not making light of poverty. Indeed I have consistently said that I support more generous benefits etc. I *was* quoting Paul...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 9:05pm
    @ Michael BG, "Do you think the supermarkets would accept lots of local currencies?" Say my local council imposed a poll tax of say 20...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 8:44pm
    @ Michael BG, If you could imagine yourself as the Supremo of an island economy you'd want the residents of the island to work for...
  • User Avatarexpats 18th Jul - 5:44pm
    Michael 1 17th Jul '19 - 9:55pm.............The 50p highest rate of tax was – wait for it – effective for one whole month of Labour’s...
  • User AvatarBernard Aris 18th Jul - 5:40pm
    Aboud British Science, R&D and Innovation being badly hit , structurally starved of new migrant EU scientists, by a "Bad or No Deal Brexit", and...