After all of the supremely terrifying attacks on women in India of late, this might help. The south-Indian state of Kerala is moving ahead with its government backed initiative to put a fleet of woman-operated taxis on the roads.
The initiative, called “She Taxi” is scheduled to launch on November 19th, and is designed to make women safer in cabs. All “She Taxis” are operated by female drivers, include security features such as an emergency alert systems, and are monitored by a central control room. Ideally it will give women a safe way to travel in the city, and as an added benefit it’s providing work, health insurance and self-defense training to the female entrepreneurs who sign up to be drivers.
Am I the only one who wishes we had something like this in the U.S.? True, travel isn't as dangerous in the States as it is in India, where sexual violence is appallingly common. But I can’t be the only woman who’s ever felt uncomfortable in a cab or texted a cab number to a friend just in case. I mean, taking a cab is essentially getting into a car with a stranger. You know, that thing that we’re told from the age of three to never, ever do?
Would it help if every cab driver ever weren’t male? Probably. And if I knew someone was monitoring the car’s route? Well, that’s a little creepier, but if we’re living in a world where everyone is basically traceable 24/7 because of cell phones, then I’d like that Big Brother stuff work to my advantage every so often. As in, my cab driver won’t take me off to parts unknown and assault me. Cause that's not just a thing that happens in Sherlock.
It’ll be interesting to see how the “She Taxi” program in Kerala works out, and whether it reduces attacks against women in the cities in which it operates. If so, it might be time to spread the idea the world over.