1. Air India’s seat reservation plan is sexist, insult to strong women; here’s why

Air India’s seat reservation plan is sexist, insult to strong women; here’s why

Air India has announced it will reserve six seats for women in its planes. The justification offered by the carrier for the move is this: Providing "comfort" to female passengers who travel alone.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2017 12:30 PM
 air india, air india women, air india reservation for women, women air india, air india controversy, air india insult women, indian airlines Air India has become probably the first carrier to have introduced seat reservation for women. (Source: Facebook/Air India)

Air India has announced it will reserve six seats for women in its planes. The justification offered by the carrier for the move is this: Providing “comfort” to female passengers who travel alone. The decision, however, is nothing but an insult to women who do not consider themselves inferior in any way as compared to men.

Seat reservation for elderly, pregnant or those women travelling with newborn kids could still have made some sense if Air India was actually concerned towards providing comfort to women. But blocking two rows — six seats — for women of all age defy logic — something no feminist would ever support.

One justification for the decision, Air India can provide is to prevent sexual harassment of women flyers. However, it wants to reserve seats only in the economy class. What about those women who fly in the business class?

Men who tend to sexually abuse women are perverts and they always find ways to indulge in their dirty acts. Avoiding such men is not the best option, confronting them, may be teaching them a lesson can help reduce sexual abuse incidents.

Air India’s seat reservation plan could be motivated by a recent incident in which a business class passenger shifted to a vacant seat next to a woman in economy class and allegedly groped her when she was asleep. The man was handed over to the US police later. Would the man have not done the same if he had found a woman in the business class? Or, does Air India thinks that women don’t travel alone in business class?

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Air India’s decision is not just an insult to women but to men also as it paints all men as prospective gropers, sexual abusers. Seclusion or reservation is not a good recipe for women’s safety.Women today want equality in all aspects of life vis-a-vis men. And a majority of educated men respect this.  There are still some men hooked to their orthodox beliefs but again, avoiding them, can’t change their mindsets.

Men, who still think that women are weaker sex and they need special facilities or comfort, may applaud Air India’s decision. But this prevalent mindset in the country is the reason why a majority of women are still confined to their homes — behind a purdah, behind a hizab, behind the present times. One wonders if Air India’s thinktank is populated by such men.

Air India has become probably the first carrier to have introduced seat reservation for women. And also, probably the first who wants gender justice flight to dive low, not fly high.

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