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women-only cars in japan


Women-Only Cars in Japan


About a month or two ago, there was some news about men getting on the women-only car trains in Tokyo. It happened one after another for a while. The men who got on these women-only cars were people who claim that they have the right to do this. It became a big topic on the Internet and many people said "women-only cars are discrimination against men."




Some people who disagree with services like this say things like the following:

"Women-only cars say "only" but it's just "voluntary cooperation" and actually, anyone can get on; your age, gender and disability don't really matter." First of all, public transportation shouldn't decide the car for women and not for man. It's impossible to make this happen legally as well. Our purpose for this movement is so that men can also get on women-only cars. Again, we're not getting on to attack women."

On 'People who disagree with women-only cars.'


Basically, their claim is they feel discriminated against because of these women-only cars. It's obvious there are a lot more men than women on the train during the busiest hours in the morning and night. I feel women are a minority and women-only cars help them. Usually, women-only cars are not busy as much as the normal cars. I've been using trains during rush hour since I was about 15 years old to go to school and I choose women-only cars too. For the line I use, even the women-only car can often get busy and packed. I have never experienced one that is empty. Obviously, there are some women who don't know their manners and push everyone to make themselves feel okay in the packed train. I've experienced that.


However, why do we even have women-only cars? According to the Tokyo Metro Official Website, "Women-only cars is to avoid molesters and so on which are a nuisance. They are not only for women, but also for those under 12 years old, children, people with disabilities."


I have to say sexual molesters who grope and touch women on the trains are not only a nuisance, they are committing a crime. There are so many women who have experienced this during their commute. When I was a little late for school and couldn't get on the women-only car, I too have experienced it. Since I'm tall, and I wear my own clothes instead of the standard school uniform since high school, such as wearing an old pair of Levi's and Converse, I thought I was the kind of girl who wouldn't be the target of these molesters, but that's not true. They don't care how you look or dress.


When I was experiencing this, I was terrified and had no way of speaking up about it right away. I was hopelessly thinking that no one would help me and I rather didn't wanna make trouble with anyone during the busiest time of the day. All I could do was just wait until the next stop and not say anything. Honestly, "don't make trouble with anyone" is making it easier to get sexually molested on the train. It is a traumatic experience. It is terrifying. What if the fear of the experience never goes away? What if you have to remember the feeling every time when a random man comes close to you? Even those random men who don't have any intention to attack women, just having that one experience can be damaging. Who's at fault here? Of course, those who molest, along with those who silently do nothing.


As Tokyo Metro Official Website said, not only women-only cars are used to avoid sexual molestation, it's also for women who wants to feel safe after they have experienced it. And I can tell you that it's not only A FEW women who experienced it, and those who never experienced also need it to not experience it. I'd never experienced sexual violence and abuse in women-only cars. It's always in the normal cars.


I don't think that adding a women-only car is helping the problem. It's just "temporary measures" to protect women from those experiences. It's not only women who are sexually molested on the trains. And if I can say more, it's too old-style to separate just women and men. So, I think it's not good to just rely on women-only cars for this issue. First, everyone should be able to feel safe in any car they get on. Then, women-only car will be gone. And from a different angle, having women-only cars means we're sexually molested in our daily life. It's so embarrassing when foreigners realize that's a major part of the culture here in Japan.


I would like to say to the people who are against to have women-only cars to please don't advocate the removal of women-only cars, instead, please work on getting rid of sexual molesters. Getting rid of them will lead to everything. Don't use your energy to dismantle someone's safe space. Please use your energy to help them.


Do you guys have women-only cars in your country? I'm curious what those from other countries think about this and how women are treated in your country? Please let us know your opinions :)

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