In a TV interview on Monday, Hazem at-Takrawi, director of Ishraqat, a Palestinian training and development firm, announced that his company is bringing women-only taxis to the conservative West Bank city of Hebron. According to Takrawi, women are already being trained for the position. In addition, the director noted that in a company commissioned survey, 95 percent of Palestinians said they would accept the new cabs, which will be pink.
Women-only taxis already cruise the streets of other major cities in the Middle East. The taxis hit the streets of Tehran in 2006, Dubai in 2007, and will be introduced to Abu Dhabi this March. Other successful women-only firms exist in Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, and Bangladesh.
While some women welcome the taxis as a harassment-free mode of transportation, others say it perpetuates their status as second-class citizens. Indeed, according to Nehad Abul Komsan, Chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, “It means isolation for women. It’s very risky for our society. If it’s an excuse to solve problems like sexual harassment or other types of violence, it’s a very naïve solution for a very complicated problem.” She elaborated, “We need to see the reason and create a good solution such as having proper transport or more security in the street, not isolate women in taxis.”