“Women only,” a driver’s assistant calls out loudly, while expertly hanging out the door of a microbus on the corner of Abbas al-Aqqad Street, in the upper-middle class neighborhood of Nasr City.
As he repeats the call, women start piling up to board the microbus, labeled with a bright orange banner reading: “Transportation for women only, by the Strong Egypt Party.”
In January, the moderate Islamist party led by former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh launched an initiative called “Transportation that respects women,” in an effort to alleviate the problems many women face daily on public transport.
Female commuters have a very tough time traveling safely, says Fatma Badr, the mastermind behind the initiative and one of the party’s founders.
“We have to squeeze our way through a crowd, particularly in rush hour,” Badr says. “Otherwise, we’d be waiting around for hours trying to find vacant seats.”
Hence the idea of women-only transport.
Heba Helmy / Egypt independent