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With women flyers to get special consideration from a private airline, the debate comes up again: essential in a country that disrespects women, or unnecessary privilege?
Recently a couple of organizations offered women paid leave for the first day of their periods and there was a huge uproar from both women and men that it wasn’t how true equality can be achieved, that it is against the basic tenets of feminism to accept special favours for some temporary discomfort which is a normal bodily process, and that when women take leave on account of periods their male co-workers have to work extra time to finish off their work.
Now an airline company has offered some extra facilities to women travelling solo under their Woman Flyer Service. They will be escorted and get assistance in ground transportation as well as handling baggage. The best part is that they will get preference in flight seats too…no middle seats, only window and aisle seats for women travelling alone. The service is complimentary and is being used currently by 75 to 100 women every day, the company says.
While this is a new facility in the airline industry in India, women-only floors have been in vogue in the hospitality industry since a long time. Female guests travelling alone are offered rooms on higher floors reserved for women only and they also get female butlers for all their personal needs. Such an initiative was considered necessary to provide more privacy and safety to women when more women began to travel alone for work as well as tourism. But this special consideration is mostly restricted to luxury hotels only; low and mid-end hotels do not offer such special favors to female guests, even on cost.
Now the same heated arguments and debates over this preferential treatment to women will resume in social media even though the motive behind the offer by Vistara airlines is the same – providing more comfort and safety to solo female travellers so that they feel more confident and don’t have to give up on important work or even leisure activities just because a man doesn’t/can’t escort them all the time.
Do you also believe that this recent move to offer special facilities to women defies the basic principles of gender equality? Do you also think it reaffirms the age old belief that women are timid and weak and can not look after themselves? Or would such initiatives empower more and more women to travel on their own?
Should feminists accept such special offers as a due right or reject it as an unrequired privilege? What say, ladies?
Top image via Pixabay