Seoul to plan women-only subway lines
Photo credit: Asian Correspondent
With the success of the women-only parking spots, the men in the National Assembly have decided again that they know what women really need: their own subway lines.
Although some politicians have been talking about adding female-only subway cars, a few people more likely to have common sense recently attended a focus group on the subject. There, some citizens and residents had the opportunity to voice their opinion.
Lee Yeo-ja, a 34-year-old female, said it was “silly for the government to just provide a couple of subway cars. Why doesn’t the government give us our own platforms too?” The discussion quickly turned to what women desired in a subway platform – mirrors, and fewer of those ‘yellow bumps’ that makes it harder to walk in heels.
One citizen, who insisted on remaining anonymous, was concerned about “those sexual predators standing right outside the female-only cars and molesting us there”. As yet, there’s no word on whether the proposed subway cars would be decorated on the outside, although it would be clear which cars are for women only. She insisted on having an officer escort her all the way home with two subway transfers and a 10-minute bus ride.
Kim Cheol-nam, a 45-year-old male, was concerned about losing track of his wife, who “would prefer to gab with her friends than watch me play on my iPad”. Some people agreed that having to find a traveling partner would be a significant inconvenience.
A couple of foreigners were present at the focus group as well. One suggested an “ajumma-only” car so they could “push each other around all day”, instead of “yelling at teenagers”. A second suggested giving the foreigners a car to themselves. “It seems that most locals would rather not sit next to a foreigner, so why not give us a car as well? We’re already treated like second-class citizens anyway.”
A proponent of the female-only lines mentioned it would “bolster the construction industry”, mentioning some plans drawn up to connect Myeongdong and Cheongdam (two major shopping areas in Seoul), She also confessed to her connection with Hyundai, who would likely receive a number of orders for new trains under this plan.
The final person to speak was a lawyer, reminding the panel that gender-segregated subway cars have already been tried. “Besides, we’re all equal under the law,” he said, demonstrating yet again that lawyers don’t get out much.
This is satire, folks – well, the part about women possibly getting their own subway lines is, at least. The pink parking spots are real, as is the talk to add female-only subway cars. Unless Korea is willing to address the problem or effectively enforce the rule, there’s very little chance for success.
© Chris Backe – 2011
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