German Rail Segregating Women and Children? Not Quite

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs


When a regional train operator in Germany announced plans to create women and children only rail cars, it didn’t take long before social media and even the worldwide press started crying out and saying Germany was taking a step in the wrong direction by introducing segregation based on sex. But is the outcry warranted? It turns out there is more to the story than the outcry suggests. broke down the story to understand what is really going on, and the end result is that the story really shouldn’t be much of a story at all.

The new women and children rail car is only being offered by a small, privately run train line, Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn (MRB), and only applies to trains traveling between Leipzig and Chemnitz. MRB wanted to be clear that the new seating section is not mandatory like some people would like to imply.

Despite assumptions, MRB claims that their decision to offer this new optional section has nothing to do with the threat of sexual harassment, spurred by the New Years Eve assaults in Cologne. Instead, the rail line stated that they are only following in the footsteps of other trains that have offered similar accommodations for quite a while now.

An MRB spokesperson told broadcaster MDR that it “has nothing to do with sexual harassment… This is an extra service offer, using the examples of the Austrian train system and the ICE and IC train operators.”

Germany has long offered special spaces for women and children, whether that means designated sections on public transportation or special parking spaces that offer more security and lighting.

We recommend reading the entire investigation by TheLocal for a more thorough dissection of the situation and why the new rail car doesn’t spell doom for German society.


Photo: Bart [Flickr] / CC BY 2.0

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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