An Egyptian private company has introduced women-only buses to go around Cairo as a way to protect women from sexual harassment.
The buses, which will also be driven by women, aim to provide a safer commuting evironment for women.
Deputy Head of the transport company Amr al-Englizy said that they are recruiting female drivers to further encourage women to use buses as a means of transportation. Also, the bus fare will be the same as regular buses in Cairo, reported Al-Masry al-Youm.
Cairo resident Manal Ahmed, 20, told Egyptian Streets that women-only buses would be a “stress relief ” for her as she won’t have to worry about who she sits or stands next to during her commutes.
Noha Abdelrahman, 22, said that she usually uses the metro to move from one place to another, but having just three carriages reserved for women is not sufficient considering the number of female passengers going to work or school each morning.
“I ironed my blouse this morning, but look at me now all squashed after an 11-stop metro ride,” said Abdelrahman laughing and pointing at her wrinkled blouse.
On his part, Ahmed told Egyptian Streets that “I take three bus rides each day to reach my university and I hope these buses cover all of Cairo and not only the popular spots”.
According to a 2013 UN report, about 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have faced some form of sexual harassment in their lives.
A recent poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation suggested that Cairo is the world’s third-worst megacity for women in terms of the risk of being exposed to sexual harassment.
While introducing women-only transportation seems like a good step to combat sexual harassment, it reveals that sexual violence is still a major problem facing Egypt and the world.
The #MeToo campaign that exposed the problem of sexual harassment in the entertainment business has since then spread to dussins of other fields around the world, demonstrating how gendered violence is endemic not just in Egypt but throughout the world.
Segregated public spaces are not only restricted to buses or metros in Egypt. There are also beauty salons and cue lines in public areas dedicated to just women.
Egypt introduced women-only carriages in the metro system in 2007. Men who use these carriages are subject to pay a fine of up to 50 EGP.
An estimate of 4 million people rides the metro daily to move around the capital city of Cairo.