The Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn (MRB) will introduce two specialized compartments on all trains on its Leipzig to Chemnitz service in the coming weeks.
The dedicated carriages for single women and mothers with children will be located in the central carriage next to quiet zones and the train conductor, Die Welt reports.
The proximity of these carriages to customer service is a conscious decision, an MRB spokesperson told Süddeutsche Zeitung, to help female passengers feel safer while traveling by rail.
— MDR INFO (@MDRINFO) March 24, 2016
Although some social media users have suggested otherwise, the company says the controversial move is not a reaction to an increase in reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault in Germany, but is instead aimed at increasing security for women in general.
So now they gender segregate German trains? Rolling back progress ?
— Navjot (@NavjotPal_) March 28, 2016
So now the German trains are going to have women & children only carriages, to keep them safe from migrants, this is MADNESS
— Duncan Hughes (@DuncanHughes62) March 27, 2016
Between Leipzig and Chemnitz, there will be special areas for women in trains (#Frauenabteile in German). Good idea?
— Dutch Deacon Blues (@ddeaconblues) March 26, 2016
Women only carriages are available on some transport services in a number of countries including Israel, Japan, India, Egypt, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia.
Last August during the leadership campaign, British opposition and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested that similar action be taken in the UK to protect women from harassment.
His remarks resulted in a backlash from some women, including party colleagues Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper.
Kendall noted that while sexual harassment and violence against women is a serious issue, women-only carriages are not the answer. Cooper said the move would be “turning the clock back, not tackling the problem”.
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) August 26, 2015