Women have always been more concerned with personal safety and getting home safely simply because they’ve had more to worry about than their male counterparts. Puebla, Mexico is catering to that need with a brand new fleet of 35 pink taxis.
Each taxi is driven by a woman for women and is decked out in pink with a GPS system, makeup kit, and alarm button. The taxis will not stop for men. They are to provide an oasis for female passengers wanting a break from catcalls and gawking cabbies, and for the female drivers wanting to break into the male dominated industry without concern for their safety.
The new service for women has created a lot of buzz, both positive and negative. Many are praising the pink taxis for creating a safe space for women to get around without having to feel concerned for their safety. Others are criticizing the company for putting a bandaid on a problem rooted in sexism while also bolstering those same sexist ideologies.
Puebla is not the first city to have women only taxi services; Moscow and Dubai have been home to similar services for quite awhile. Pink Taxi de Puebla is privately funded by an investment of $440,000, or 5.8 million pesos, while the local government provided training and licensing to the drivers. The hope is to see a successful program so it can expand into other cities. In 2007, Mexico City tried to start a similar service, but it did not take off.
The new taxi service has collected their fair share of opposition. The critics are saying the pink taxis are a saccharine presentation catering to sexist ideals and stereotypes of what women should be. The pink taxis are fitted with beauty kits, which subconsciously tells the female passengers their looks are the most important. Though, the pink taxis provide a safe space for women, they do nothing to eliminate violence against women or even make it a point of conversation. Women face harassment at every turn.
Providing a safe way of getting home is great, but women should be able to make it home without being segregated in pink advertisements that the problem is still raging on. Women need more than a pink taxi and a beauty kit, but this might be the start of something good.