Recent gang rapes in India have given rise to a women-only culture across the country, with some communities creating taxis, buses, parks and even banks exclusively for females.
More women are seeking out women-only travel groups and hotel floors in order to protect themselves. The ministry of tourism is encouraging small hotels to begin keeping female-only floors, the Washington Post reported.
In a growing trend, the city of Kozhikode, 1500 miles south of New Delhi, launched a “Ladies Only” bus service on Wednesday.
Another city, Coimbatore, is preparing to open a women’s park.
“It is such a relief,” said Nabeesa, one of the passengers, told The Hindu, according to IB Times. “Traveling in crowded buses with men is such a nightmare. We would not have any peace of mind as many men try to molest us in the rush. We could now stop worrying about our daughters going to schools and colleges.”
On Nov. 19 the Indian government will launch the first women-only bank, which will have a primarily female staff. Bhartiya Mahila Bank will have 25 branches across the country. The government said the establishment is meant to empower women financially, the Washington Post reported.
Not everyone thinking that separating the sexes is the solution to rape culture.
“It’s appalling. It’s a way for a patriarchal society to announce it’s not going to protect women,” Jayati Ghosh, an economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, told the Washington Post. “It’s simply going to segregate women and restrict their freedom, instead of securing it.”
Ghosh said that designating areas as “safe” for women only “encourages segregation and more violence.”
“It’s the ways of men,” 60-year-old named Sarita told the Post. “They’re not good. How can we coexist?”