Indians Dodge Harassment in Women-Only Trains

'Ladies Specials' set up to tackle persistent harassment of women workers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2009 7:56 AM CDT
The Delhi-Palwal "Ladies Special" train departs following the flag-off by Indian Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee last month.   (AFP/Getty Images)
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(Newser) – India's railway system has replaced women-only rail cars with entire women-only trains in an effort to battle sexual harassment, the New York Times reports. Groping and catcalling—known as "eve-teasing"—is endemic on India's commuter system, a trend analysts say shows the friction caused by the huge amount of women who have entered the Indian workforce in the last couple of decades.

"It’s so nice here,” said one passenger on a "Ladies Special."  Regular trains, she complained, were full of hawkers, thieves, and plenty of men. “Here on this train, you can board anywhere and sit freely.” The trains' female guards and ticket collectors, however, complain that the trains are plagued by vandalism and intrusions from men who are angered by what they see as unfair treatment, though the eight Ladies Specials make up only a small fraction of the country's commuter trains.