23 | AGO | 2019
Mexico City's subway: the most dangerous for women
Mexico City's former mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera, thought sexual harassment could be fought by using whistles - Photo: Alejandra Leyva/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico City's subway: the most dangerous for women

15/11/2018
13:09
Reuters
Mexico City, Bogotá
Natalia Munro, Anastasia Moloney
-A +A
The poll found that only about a third of women in Mexico City were confident or very confident anyone would help if they were being harassed

Mexico City has the most dangerous transport system for women out of five of the world’s biggest commuter cities, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll, with women saying other passengers often turned a blind eye to abuse.

The poll found that three in every four women in Mexico City weren't confident about using the transport system without the risk of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual violence.

Cairo was ranked in second place, while less than one in four women in London, New York, and Tokyo thought they were at risk of such abuse on public or private transport.

Transport isn’t safe and assaults happen all the time,” Berenice Guerrero, a 22-year-old teacher from Mexico City, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I sometimes feel intimidated by men, and I try not to travel at night,” said Guerrero, who spends 90 minutes a day commuting to work using the city’s public buses and subway.

The survey, conducted between August 13-24, asked 1,000 women about safety, time spent traveling and cost of transport in the five of the world’s largest commuter cities with underground train networks in five different cultural regions.

In Mexico City, 151 women said safety was their biggest transport concern, while 141 women in Cairo saw it as the key issue.

In both cities, about three in four women said they were not confident about traveling without sexual harassment or violence.

CROWDING AND CHAOS

Erika Aguilar, a cleaner who uses Mexico City’s bus and subway which carries around 5.6 million people on working days, in a city of 21 million inhabitants, said overcrowding led to assaults, including women being groped, and that fellow travelers looked away.

“If a woman is being harassed people don’t want to get involved. People are afraid to,” said Aguilar, 30. “There should be a strict limit on how many people are in each carriage.”

Teresa Inchaustegui, head of the Mexican government’s National Institute of Women (Inmujeres), said women feel safer in public than private transport, which needs more regulation.

She said city authorities were increasing their efforts to improve safety for women on public transport with initiatives such as more cameras, more police officers, help booths, and women-only carriages.

Other measures include public awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging men not to turn a blind eye when they witness violence against women, Inchaustegui said.

The poll, supported by Uber, found that only about a third of women in Mexico City were confident or very confident anyone would help if they were being harassed.

“This is a problem we have tried to fight,” Inchaustegui told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Part of it could have to do with being afraid, but the other part is due to complicity...because they consider that men have the right to touch the woman they want.”
 

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