The Czech state railway operator (ČD) is discriminating against men by setting aside separate compartments for women, according to a men’s association.
The Union of Fathers (UO), originally founded to push for fathers’ rights in child custody cases during divorces but which has since broadened its battlegrounds, says that the pilot project for women only compartments is an abuse of men’s human rights.
The registered association now has launched criminal proceedings against the state rail company.
“The move by the railway helps to consolidate the impression that all men are a threat to women, potentially a danger to them, and that they need to be protected” commented Aleš Hodina, the editor of the website Střídavka, which is a party to the legal complaint. Střídavka promotes equal childcare rights and responsibilities for both sexes.
“Men do not have the same rights to use the public transport services offered by Czech Railways as persons of the opposite sex,” added UO chairman Valentin Papazian on the website.
The railway company says that the charge of discrimination is misplaced. A spokesman told the weekly Týden that the rules are only a reflection of good manners in society, where a man will normally give up his seat for a woman.
The rail company say it is testing the concept of women only compartments on a few routes, mostly international express services, adding that the idea was inspired by the example of Austria’s and Switzerland’s rail companies.