Yvette Cooper, one of the four candidates for leadership of the Labour Party, has rejected a proposal by Jeremy Corbyn, who is also standing, for all-women carriages to be introduced onto trains.
Cooper said on Twitter:
“Why should we [women] have to shut ourselves away to stay safe?”
She later said in a statement:
“The staff needed to enforce the segregated carriages should be keeping all the carriages safe instead. Transport bosses and police need to do far more to crack down on harassment and abuse – and that means we need more visible police and staff on tubes, trains and platforms, better lighting and CCTV, tough action to follow up abuse (which too often doesn’t happen), and a complete change in culture on buses, railways and tubes”.
Liz Kendall, also standing in the leadership contest, said:
“But I don’t believe that gender segregation is the answer. That’d be an admission of defeat, rather than a sustainable solution”.
Andy Burnham, the fourth candidate for the leadership, said:
“In this day and age we shouldn’t even considering the idea of segregated train travel. As a dad of two young girls, I want to see a proper society-wide strategy on tackling violence against women”.
Anber Raz from the Equality Now group also criticised the proposals saying:
“Having women-only carriages on public transport does not solve the fundamental problem of sexual harassment and hides women away. Instead, the focus should be on ending the harassment and teaching boys and men not to do it, rather than putting the onus on women to ‘stay safe’. The justice system should be held accountable too, to take this issue seriously and pursue prosecutions, thereby sending a strong message that the continued harassment of women and girls will not be tolerated”.
Corbyn’s campaign team said that he had raised the issue only to encourage debate on protecting women and that it was only for discussion at this stage.