Transport for female students

As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking

—Virginia Woolf, Orlando In societies blighted by hypocrisy, some notions despite possessing enormous practical worth and value are neither accepted nor promoted

The ethical codes of all religions without any exception grant equal rights to the Eve’s daughter to live as freely and fully on this earthly abode as to the Adam’s son

However, girls on bicycles and motorcycles do not make a common scene in our society though there is nothing objectionable in it by any yardstick of morality, sanity or culture

Practically it can prove beneficial for families in their needs and means of conveyance

Nevertheless male motorcyclists with their vehicles and onlookers with their ogling eyes leave no opportunity to harass them

Hazrat Asma supplied food on the camel’s back to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and her father Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) who had taken refuge in the cave of Thawr during the migration from Makkah to Madina in 622 AD

She had to traverse a long distance through the rugged mountains all alone in the dead of night

For this task, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) bestowed upon her the tittle ‘Zatul Nataqain’ as she tied food to the camel’s back with her own cloth belt

Girls from far flung areas stop short of completing their education because they don’t afford public transport owing to its shortage, unavailability and women-unfriendly service

Further their male patrons do not shoulder the responsibility of their daily ferrying

So if we let our women go solo on two wheelers, it will unburden the male members

With some families girls being elder among siblings can not only commute for themselves but also shuttle their younger siblings to schools

Orphan and/or brotherless girls are left with no other choice but to confine themselves to homes

Or they have to use for short distances auto rickshaws which limit their incidental travelling owing to their heavy fares and lack of liberty to stop off at more places than one

Tarrying for public transport wastes time which students do not afford as they have to reach educational institutions on time

It goes without saying that one’s personal conveyance reduces uncertainty and unpredictability of reaching one’s destination on time

Instead of handing out cold-comfort scholarships and financial support programmes, governments should provide girls with transport to facilitate their access to schools

Though at college and university levels, college buses strain to cater to students’ needs, they are insufficient

But so far no such service has been initiated for public schools for girls

Till then, more girls schools be set up within the walking distance to mitigate the ordeal of the peripatetic students

Girls from rural areas face the real blow because of long distances from schools

There, the utopian idea of girls on two wheelers is considered a taboo

People should acknowledge the gravity of transport problems for girls, and strive to bring a metanoic turnaround about the educational needs of women

On a smaller scale, local governments and wealthy village elders should contract local and private transporters to run vehicles free between their village and schools

Even NGOs and philanthropists should donate funds to transport companies to run passenger vehicles free of fares exclusively for girl students

We see NGOs donating dowry and arranging wedding ceremonies for deserving families

They should also pay attention to the transport problems faced by girl students

It stipulates iconoclastic defiance of social mores that women motorcyclists should be encouraged as it benefits both male and female members of family

Parents, teachers and media will have to brainwash the misogynistic mindset to pay respect and create room for girls on motorcycles

The means of transport cannot be labelled as per human gender

Traffic police must form laws to discipline the miscreants for their blithe disregard for existential rights of women

CCTV cameras installed along the roads must mark the peddlers of harassment on roads

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2023

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Date:19-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link