SAO PAULO, Brazil – In an effort to curb rush-hour groping on crowded buses, a major Brazilian city known for its sexually aggressive men is about to introduce women-only buses in its public transportation system.
The city council of Goiania, capital of the central state of Goias, unanimously approved a bill calling for women-only buses during morning and evening rush hours in the city of 1.1 million residents, councilman Mauricio Beraldo, the bill's sponsor, said Friday.
"The beautiful women of Goiania are constantly being sexually harassed on our overcrowded buses by men who seem unable to control themselves," Beraldo said by telephone from his office, 570 miles north of Sao Paulo.
"Over the years I have received countless complaints from irate and nervous women complaining of men who take advantage of crowded bus conditions to fondle their bodies," Beraldo said. "This is why I decided to introduce a bill calling for the introduction of buses that will carry only women."
Mayor Iris Rezende is expected to sign the bill into law by Dec. 15, and the all-female buses should be circulating by mid-2007, Beraldo said.
Details on how the women-only bus system will work will be discussed in the coming weeks, he said. He declined to provide further information until the bill is approved by the mayor, who was not immediately available for comment.
"Other cities like Cairo, Tokyo, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro have dealt with similar problems by introducing special transportation facilities for women," Beraldo said.
Rio de Janeiro's subway system started using women-only cars in 2006 after several complaints of sexual harassment. The all-female cars circulate all day, while in Mexico City cars are designated for woman and children only during rush hours.
In Japan, where groping of women is a long-standing problem, 26 lines operated by 12 companies have introduced women-only cars, mainly in big cities.
In Cairo, at least two cars in the front of every train are reserved for women. However, in buses, women and men ride together.