Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Women-only "pink carriages" on Australian trains

Female commuters wait to leave Tokyo's Shinjuku station in Keio private railway’s "Women Only" carriage.
Female commuters wait to leave Tokyo's Shinjuku station
in Keio private railway’s "Women Only" carriage. Source:AFP
This is really major. For years, we have been told that women-only public transportation facilities were silly old-fashioned things that "progressive" people neither needed nor wanted, so of course you only saw these things in "backwards" countries outside "the west." Insofar as crimes against women on public transportation are noticed at all, they are treated as a problem of (male) "education" (good luck with that!) or law enforcement. Given that I was just reading today about a woman who was raped at knifepoint on the Washington, DC metro, it doesn't seem this approach has been terribly productive.
Interesting in that we are now seeing proposals in Germany, the UK, and Australia. So much for Queen Victoria. She's not as outmoded as the men would have you think. And given that the opposition is largely in the NAMALT (Not All Men Are Like That) category, that should tell you something.
And isn't it fascinating that on one hand, there is this emerging (if tacit) "official" recognition of the threat that males pose to women in public spaces, while at the same time, women in "the west" are being told that women-only bathrooms, locker rooms, domestic violence shelters are "bigoted" and we must give them up.

Emma Reynolds

A CALL for women-only “pink carriages” has caused uproar as passengers and train operators weigh into the debate.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union national secretary Bob Nanva says public transport needs to be safer at night and is proposing a trial of all-female carriages, seen elsewhere in the world.
He is proposing a trial of Safe Carriages in NSW, with carriages installed with extra distress buttons, on-board CCTV and more regular checks by staff.
“Since September 2012, there have been 2859 criminal offences against women on public transport, including almost 19 sexual offences against women on NSW bus, tram and train networks every month,” he told
“A survey of NSW commuters a few years ago found that 64 per cent of women felt unsafe on public transport after dark. But this is not just a NSW problem — commuters across the country have told us that something must be done.
“Women and children who travel on public transport after dark should have the option of a safe haven where they can feel safe without having to worry if the bloke leering at them from across the aisle is a potential predator.”
Radio presenter Ben Fordham from 2GB told The Today Show this morning: “It makes me feel really, really weird, the idea that women need to be protected from someone like me.
“There are lunatics out there who are women and who are men who go around assaulting people and doing all sorts of disgusting things to people, but why don’t we just focus on the perpetrators?
“I don’t think it makes sense ... What kind of message does it send to the kind of behaviour you can carry out in other parts of the train?”
Many commentators implied that this was victim-blaming, asking why we didn’t just introduce men-only carriages instead. “Alternatively we could just teach men that it’s not OK to harass or assault women,” tweeted Natty Longshot.
“We should be looking after everyone, it shouldn’t have to come to that,” added Christine Mincham.
“Has the whole world gone mad or just Australia?” asked Trevor Blight.
In fact, sex-segregation is already on offer on trains in India, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Other nations have female-only sections on cars and metro lines.
A railway line in central Germany last week attracted controversy when it announced the introduction of safe carriages reserved for women and children, beside the guard’s office, according to Breitbart.
The suggestion was also floated late last year by UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said in a statement that it was “unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed”.
The last women-only carriage in Britain was removed in 1977.
The RTBU’s Mr Nanva insisted the idea was not about forcing women into ghettos. “Of course, we want every carriage to be a safe carriage, and no passenger should have to put up with violent and anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“That’s why the starting point for safer public transport must be a stronger staff presence across the public transport network — on trains and at stations.
“But if a trial of Safe Carriages helps people to feel safer and more confident about catching the train, then it should also be part of the response to sexual violence on public transport.”
A spokesman for Sydney Trains said: “The safety and security of our customers and staff is the top priority for Sydney Trains.
“Our customer satisfaction survey shows that Sydney Trains’ customers are feeling safer at train stations with an increase of 11 percentage points from November 2012 to November 2015.
“We work closely with the NSW Police Transport Command, who are responsible for crime prevention across the rail network.
“There are thousands of CCTV cameras on our trains and at our stations, to help improve customer safety and deter crime. We also have emergency help points installed on our newer trains, which customers can use to report any safety concerns to the train guard.
“There are also more than 750 emergency help points installed at our stations.”
The carriage nearest to the guard on Sydney Trains is already marked with a blue light.
The idea for the “pink carriages” was previously put forward by the transport union and NSW Rape Crisis Centre in 2013.
The outraged reaction online suggests it may not have any more success this time round.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China

Opened: May 2015

Closed: Still open?

Not a lost space, but I don't consider that a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it's good to note up and coming womyn's spaces.

Contrary to what some may think, women's banks are an old idea made new again. We've posted on experiments in this area dating back to at least the beginning of the 20th century. For example, see here for information on the Berlin Women's Bank (1909-1915).

Shenzhen to Be Home to China's First Women-Only Online Bank

May 6, 2015

Editor: Kiki Liu

The logo of Shenzhen-based Mulan Investment Company, China's first investment and financial platform serving only female entrepreneurs []
Shenzhen, a coastal city of south China's Guangdong Province, announced on May 4, 2015 the founding of China's first online bank serving only women, after establishing the first female O2O (Online to Offline) financial platform — — in September 2014.
Organized by the financial platform, a conference centered on young pioneers was held by around 300 young entrepreneurs and company founders and coincided with China's Youth Day, which falls annually on May 4.
At the conference, the most notable agenda item was perhaps the founding of the first female online bank, named Mulan Bank after the Shenzhen-based Mulan Investment Company — the financial backbone of the new online bank.
According to the investment company, Mulan Bank — the first online bank of its kind in China — would provide its services only for women, especially female entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the Mulan Bank has promised to customers that its ultimate goal is to increase women's financial power with online services and consumption as their cores pillars.
In other words, the online bank will be rewriting a new chapter for the development of female entrepreneurs.
Actually, the investment company was originally founded as a pioneering organization focusing on women's start-ups, investments and financial management — a gathering place for female entrepreneurs and founders of great power or fame.
"We have embraced three brands based on the investment bank: Mulans, Mulan Pioneering and Investment, and then the Mulan Bank. That helps the investment bank to have far-reaching influence in China," explained Liu Aimin, the co-founder of the investment bank.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Midway College

Image result for midway collegeMidway College

Location: Midway, Kentucky, USA

Opened: 1847

Closed: 2016

The die-off of women's colleges continues. And once again, how alumnae feel about it is ignored.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Midway U Will Become Completely Coeducational

May 17, 2016

Midway University announced Monday that it will admit men to all programs. The Kentucky institution was founded as a women's college and already admits men to online, graduate and evening programs. The change will admit men to residential undergraduate programs that have until now remained for women only. The announcement from the university, which was until 2015 known as Midway College, noted the difficulty of attracting young women to single-sex colleges, and said that the undergraduate programs need more students.
On the college's Facebook page, many alumnae criticized the move. Wrote one: "As a second-generation Midway College graduate, I am very sad to hear that the Midway I knew and loved will never be the same again. And I am afraid this is not a good change."

College of St. Elizabeth

CSE 2016 graduation
Students gather in the Holy Family Chapel on the campus
of the College of Saint Elizabeth
for a blessing before the 114th Commencement exercises.
             (Courtesy of the College of St. Elizabeth)
College of St. Elizabeth

Location: Florham, New Jersey, USA

Opened: 1899

Closed: 2016

And still, the number of women's colleges dwindles to just a few survivors....

From NJCom:

FLORHAM PARK — The College of St. Elizabeth's 2016 commencement on Saturday graduated the school's last class as an all-women's college.
Starting this fall, the only remaining all women's college in New Jersey will become co-ed.
Three hundred seventy-eight graduates including doctoral students in educational leadership received their degrees at the 114th Commencement on Saturday.
Col. Ingrid A. Parker, garrison commander at Picatinny Arsenal, gave the commencement address in which she challenged the Class of 2016 to make a difference in the world.
"As you leave the College of Saint Elizabeth today, you take with you your education and your place in society, as one of the fortunate people, who were able to attain a college degree,"€ she said. "The first thing is I encourage you to be strong, be audacious, and have a little tenacity. Go into your career fearlessly. Look for people who will help you along the way, you will need a network of support."
Maame Quainoo and Meredith Palmer, both of the Class of 20€™16, were selected from among their peers to deliver the student addresses.
Awards of Distinction were conferred upon the following students: Marissa Gioffre of Morristown received the Sister Elizabeth Ann Maloney Award; Marlyne Lamour of Maplewood received the Sister Jacqueline Burns Award; Sister Florence Akhimien of Ibadan, Nigeria received the Sister Elizabeth Houlihan Memorial Award; and Ashley Pledger of Randolph received the Hildegarde Marie Mahoney Award for General Excellence.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Steps and Stages Jubilee House women veterans homeless shelter

Image result for Steps and Stages Jubilee House women veterans homeless shelter
Steps and Stages
Steps and Stages Jubilee House women veterans homeless shelter

Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA

Opened: 2011

Closed: 2015

From 11 Eyewitness News:

By Greg Barnes               


The Steps and Stages Jubilee House women veterans homeless shelter in Fayetteville is now closed.

The city has shut off the power and water over an unpaid $3,500 utility bill.

Jubilee House Director Barbara Marshall along with seven female veterans and five children were forced to move out. For now, Marshall said the veterans and children are living elsewhere. However, she hopes the shutdown is only temporary.

"More than ever, we need the community to come together," said Marshall. "In fact, in the coming week, we would like to have members of the community to come and sit around the table, and meet some of the women, hear their stories, learn about their lives."

Swannie Robinson, who lives across the street from the Jubilee House, said Marshall asked her to keep an eye on the empty house.

"She said she couldn't take it no more -- did all she could -- and that this is all she can do," said Robinson, who has lived across the street from Jubilee House since it was built five years ago, said she has seen this day coming. "I had helped her out with food and clothes, and little items, whatever they needed, a little bit of money sometimes if I had it."

In 2011, ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition recruited hundreds of volunteers to help build a new 7,000 square foot home on Langdon Street for Marshall. First lady Michelle Obama helped dedicate the Jubilee House to homeless women veterans.

Since then, Marshall said she has helped nearly 300 women veterans, but admits keeping Jubilee House open has been a struggle. She's been accused to mismanaging money, and turning away some veterans. She's even been investigated by the state.

This past March, the home went dark after the power was cut off over an unpaid $5,000 utility bill. Donations then helped Marshall get the lights turned back on.

Now, Marshall said she is out of money and believes her financial problems reveal a larger community issue.

"To many residents in our community, these women are yet invisible. Many people are surprised that there are homeless women veterans," said Robinson.

Marshall said she will continue working to help homeless women veterans.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Eleanor Residence for Working Women and Students

Parkway Eleanor Club, 1550 North Dearborn Parkway Chicago Illinois
Former Eleanor Residence for Working Women
and Students
Eleanor Residence for Working Women and Students

Location: 1550 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Opened: 1898

Closed: 2001

We're often told that the loss of womyn's space is some inevitable result of "progress." The Cool Girls, we are told, don't even want these things anymore!
But by reading carefully between the lines, we see that the real story is typically one of betrayal and selling out to more powerful interests (usually money, especially moneyed males). And notice that once again, the opinions of the women most affected by these decisions are decisively ignored. That these spaces are meaningful to womyn is just not even deemed worthy of notice. And notice all the mysterious "research" showing women didn't want this residence, but they couldn't find even one woman to interview who agreed!
This particular womyn's space, the Eleanor Residence, was lost over 15 years ago, but all those themes are here.
Funny how the loss of all these "old-fashioned" women's residences over the last decades of the 20th century has paved the way for women losing spaces that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago--bathrooms, locker rooms, sports teams. And we are still being told we're out of step with the times, fuddy-duddy, hysterical, or right-wing if we object.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Door closes on an era
For 103 years, Eleanor residences provided group homes and built-in friendship for single women.
With the sale of the last one--on prime Gold Coast land--the board hopes to help even more women and girls.

October 03, 2001|By Barbara Brotman, Tribune staff writer.

Kathleen Darley walked through the lobby of the Eleanor Residence with the elegant posture of the ballet dancer she is. Spotting Susan Rodriguez, she gave her two thumbs up.
"You got it?" Rodriguez asked eagerly.
"I think so," Darley said.
Rodriguez grinned. "Oh, we've got to celebrate tonight."

Darley had just had a promising audition for her dream job, a role in the Joffrey Ballet's "Nutcracker," which she later learned that she had indeed won. And inside this dormitory-like building on the Gold Coast, she had just received one of the benefits of the Eleanor Residence: the support of other women.
For 103 years, Eleanor residences have provided inexpensive, dormitory-style housing for single women in Chicago. In its heyday in the early 1900s, Eleanor was a vast social organization. There were Eleanor banking facilities; an Eleanor League for girls; an Eleanor monthly magazine; and an Eleanor Camp in Lake Geneva.
Though originally intended for young women starting careers, the residence came to serve newly divorced and widowed women, visiting students and women re-entering the work force.
But the residences' era came to an end Sunday, with the closing of the only remaining facility, the Eleanor Residence for Working Women and Students at 1550 N. Dearborn Pkwy. Darley and
Rodriguez were among the last residents.
In June, the board of the Eleanor Women's Foundation voted to end its role as a provider of housing, and become a grant-making philanthropy. It decided to close the last residence, sell the prime Gold Coast real estate [emphasis added], and use the proceeds to support programs for women and girls.
The sale is being conducted through the real estate firm of Newcastle Limited, which is evaluating the sealed bids that have come in.
Where single women once could not sign their own names on leases, now they routinely get their own apartments, said Susan Leinwohl, the foundation's executive director and an Eleanor resident in the 1960s.
"We've maintained a fairly decent occupancy, but demand has generally been decreasing," she said. "We feel that we can provide much more service to women and girls with the money that we will receive from the sale of the building. This is such a wonderful thing; I am really excited about this."
Closing brings sadness, anger
The women who lived at the Eleanor, on the other hand, were saddened.
"You have a built-in support system here. I have friends I'll know forever," said Darley, 21, a Texan who decided to begin her dance career in Chicago rather than New York partly because of the Eleanor.
And because the Eleanor provided two meals a day--room and board was $21 a day--it freed her to devote herself to dancing. "You move into a new city, and you just don't have a lot of time and energy for cleaning house and making an apartment," she said.

"I was devastated" to hear of the closing, said Linda Keller, 37, a courtroom Spanish interpreter who lives downtown. She stayed at the Eleanor from 1997 to 1999 when she moved back to Chicago from Spain, and while there established the "Happy Table," where residents dined by candlelight and spoke only of upbeat matters.
"It was such an opportunity for women," she said. "It was unique. It was a microcosm. You gathered women of all races, walks of life, social strata and educational status, and we learned from each other."
Some of the residents were furious about the closing.
"This place is really needed," said Rodriguez, 48, a nail technician known professionally as Fergie, who moved to the Eleanor when her 26-year marriage abruptly ended.
She thinks the board members don't understand how many women make low incomes and find themselves in desperate need of a temporary place to live.
"These women all drive BMWs and Audis," she said. "I don't think they realize what it's like to be out there."
Stephanie Ponn, 28, who works in sales and fundraising for the Chicago Sinfonietta, said she felt betrayed by the Eleanor board.
"They want to give the impression that these are all professional women here," she said. "But there are vulnerable women here--a woman who came here after a divorce and was starting life over again, women who were abused, women who are getting over mental problems. They knowingly took these women in and said, `You can stay here for two years,'" and then closed the residence.
"Maybe they want to help women, but I think they've been very hypocritical with the women here."
She found an apartment, as did Rodriguez and Darley, but worries that she may have to take on an additional or different job to afford it.
The board's point of view
Leinwohl said the board made every effort to help residents find other housing. The Eleanor Residence gave them free room and board for the month of September, and allowed them to take the room's furniture if they wanted. The board gave residents and employees three months' notice, she said, and brought in an apartment rental agency to help the women find new living quarters. Women who preferred communal living were referred to the Three Arts Club, a similar facility a few blocks away. (The Three Arts Club is specifically for women artists; at present, it has no openings until January.)

The Eleanor Women's Foundation deliberately tried to screen out women who were unable to live independently, she said.
"We are not set up to handle social service type of problems," she said. "Our advertising has always been clear: We are a residence for working women and students." It was also clear, she said, that this was not a permanent housing option; after two years, women had to move out.
"People are somewhat disgruntled; change is difficult," she said. "But the Eleanor really and truly has an obligation to serve as many women in Chicago as they can. I understand those feelings, but I'm pleased we can move forward."
The Eleanor board is not abandoning women, but changing in order to serve more of them, she said.
Only 1.4 percent of philanthropic funds in Chicago go to programs specifically for women and girls, according to a 1992 survey by Chicago Women in Philanthropy; the Eleanor Women's Foundation hopes that the proceeds from the property's sale can add significantly to those funds.
"We have to be the best possible stewards of our money," Leinwohl said. "If there were a real need for this [type of housing], the YWCAs would still be in this business." The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago closed its last residence in 1972.
Before making the decision, the foundation spent a year and a half examining the needs of the women it was serving.
"Our research tended to show that women wanted other kinds of options for housing," Leinwohl said. "They wanted their own kitchens; their own bathroom facilities; and this is a little touchy, but they wanted [to be allowed to have] men in their room."
The rule prohibiting men above the first floor was a holdover from the Eleanor Clubs' early days.
Darley, who had actually heard the Eleanor was a convent, liked it because it allowed her to wander around in her pajamas freely; her parents loved it.
The tearoom days
The Eleanor Clubs were founded in 1898 by Ina Law Robertson, a Washington state school principal who moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago. She thought young working women new to the city needed help making the transition from rural to urban life. She named her organization Eleanor after Eleanor Law, a friend whose wealthy brother had willed his estate to Law and Robertson for philanthropic purposes--Robertson took "Law" as her middle name out of respect for James Law. She also liked the name Eleanor because it means "light" in Greek.
Eleanor was a way of life. In 1916, according to the book "Women Building Chicago 1790-1990, A Biographical Dictionary," the Central Eleanor Club's tearoom downtown served 58,000 people; more than 2,000 young women took classes there in gymnastics, folk dancing, millinery and English. By 1920, the club occupied nearly an entire floor in the Stevens Building in the Loop.
At one point, there were six residential Eleanor Clubs in the city. The Gold Coast building, built specifically as an Eleanor residence, opened in 1956 as the Parkway Eleanor Club.
Leinwohl lived there from 1963 to 1965, when the young women there wore gloves and pillbox hats to interviews, and began reading Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique."
"I absolutely loved it," she said. "I loved it better than my college experience. I met a wider range of interesting people. . . . Oh, it was so much fun."
But she believes that by becoming a philanthropic organization, the Eleanor Women's Foundation is honoring the spirit of its founder.
"She saw a need in her time. Well, we see needs that are not being met today," she said. "We're coming full circle, but in a different direction.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Women-only bus (Zhengzhou, China)

Not a "lost" space per se, but certainly endangered--just as all womyn's space is these days.

Once again, you have men complaining that women-only space is "sexist"--while simultaneously having no interest is stopping sexual harassment and rape. Very typical.

The coopted feminist lingo used to shut down female-oriented transportation may be new, but male attempts to shut these things down are actually at least 100 years old.

From the Shanghai-ist:

Women's only bus runs into accusations of sexism in Zhengzhou


Commuting women in the city of Zhengzhou can spend a little less time worrying about creeps now that the city has rolled out a "ladies-only" bus.

Predictably, controversy has sprung up in the Henan capital over this supposedly discriminatory form of transport. According to CCTV News, some male riders are complaining that the initiative is humiliating to men when there are so few individuals who would harass a woman in public.

Well, tell that to the women who became victims of this upskirt pervert at an Anhui bus station. In fact, a 2012 survey by China Youth Daily found that an incredible 81.9% of participants felt they had experienced sexual harassment on the subway.


The bus company installed this socially-conscious bus on route 906, one of the city's busiest bus routes. According to the Bus Transport Corporation of Zhengzhou, that route alone serves as many as 30,000 passengers in a single day.

The ladies' bus is offered during summertime rush hours to reduce the possibility of harassment to female patrons. The company also added a partner bus to follow along and avoid inconveniencing male passengers.

Female passengers appear to be satisfied by the service saying that they feel it's novel and respectful of women. Admittedly, nobody expected this kind of forward-thinking to come out of Zhengzhou. Last month, a city in Jiangxi became one of the few in China to provide women with special privacy booths for breastfeeding their children.


Aside from enjoying a pervert-free environment, the bus has got great ambiance too. It's decked out with plush teddy bears, a frilly driver's seat and a large red notice that reads "women's only bus." It seems like a pleasant respite from a world where nude men attack middle schoolers and bystanders hit record as women are murdered.


But you can't please everyone, one video that has gone viral on the Chinese internet shows an elderly man's reaction to the new bus service, shouting at the driver "You're discriminating against men!"
Watch the video below:

Unfortunately, women everywhere else in China are just going to have to start taking self-defense classes, to defend themselves from random pervs and pickpockets on public transportation:

By Matthew Patel