The increasing prevalence of women-only services
16-Jul-2017


In Dubai, a pink ambulance which exclusively serves women can now be seen driving around the Deira district responding to emergency calls. In June, the government launched the Women Responders unit, a pilot program which consists of four women in pink who remain on standby twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Consisting of two medics and two drivers specialized in obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics, the program aims to expedite medical care by helping female patients feel more at ease. 

This new service is just one of many in the Emirate which are offered exclusively to women by the government and private sector. In 2007 Dubai launched the “Ladies and Families Taxis,” a fleet of pink-roof taxis driven by women for women and children. The city’s metro has a women-only carriage marked by pink signs on the floor of each station. There are hotels with women-only floors and plans to open a women-only hotel with 80 per cent female staff by the year’s end. In October 2016 Dubai inaugurated the Medcare Women & Children Hospital in October 2016, the first specialty hospital run largely by women. 87 per cent of the hospital’s 500 staff are female and the hospital is aiming for 100%.

There are some critics who take issue with the “pinking” of services, saying they reinforce inequality or even discriminate against men. The term “pinking” has been used in the consumer industry to refer to products which are “designed” exclusively for women, although they may be a product that is ordinarily used by men as well. Yet outside the Middle East, the possibility of finding services that only cater to women is relatively rare, save for salons and specialty hospitals. The one exception seems to be public transportation: cities across the globe, from East to West, have launched women-only taxi services, subway cars, and designated bus seats. The “pinking” of transportation services elsewhere is mostly a response to the ever-growing problem of sexual harassment and assault, rather than traditional values. 

Although the pinking of products is ridiculous and usually provides no added value, the pinking of services for women has proved to be popular wherever it is offered. In three weeks, the Women Responder’s Unit responded to 25 callouts. Women’s-only services provide efficiency and comfort, as well as more tailored experiences for women’s needs. They provide safety. Furthermore, when they are provided by women only they create jobs and opportunities. There is no denying the positive impact these services have for both the women who use them and those who provide them.


Related Articles

Chips and Gender Stereotypes
Feb 11

Chips and Gender Stereotypes

Are women embarrassed to eat chips in public? Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, seems to think so: in a recent interview she claimed that women do not like to crunch loudly or lick their fingers when eating chips in front of other people. To solve these issues, Nooyi announced a new line of “low crunch”...

Read More
Art and the Female Subject
Feb 04

Art and the Female Subject

Passive objects or women in charge? The Manchester Art Gallery in the United Kingdom has removed the famous painting “Hylas and the Nymphs” by J.W. Waterhouse as it rethinks the representation of women in art.  The painting’s removal, which was meant to encourage debate” about how such...

Read More
Getting used to women in politics
Jan 28

Getting used to women in politics

The crowds may have been smaller at this year’s Women’s March, but the message was stronger than ever. With the theme of “Power to the Polls,” over 1.5 million people participated in marches across the United States and abroad. The goal of promoting female politicians and using votes to elect...

Read More
Diversity and confidence: Because all women are worth it
Jan 21

Diversity and confidence: Because all women are worth it

Diversity and inclusion have been a hot-button topic lately, and diversity in the advertising world is no exception. For every feel-good advertisement, there seems to be another that completely misses the mark (think the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad, or H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”...

Read More
Times up in Hollywood
Jan 14

Times up in Hollywood

The Golden Globes, the first major entertainment awards show of the season, stole the spotlight last week. Watching the ceremony, the unsuspecting viewer might have thought that the women of Hollywood were in mourning, with most attendees choosing black dresses over colorful looks. In some ways, the women were marking...

Read More
Proof and Accountability
Jan 07

Proof and Accountability

For women in 2018, it’s going to be all about proof and accountability. Equality for women is not just a slogan or vague concept but a goal, which means that it must be translated into concrete action. Politicians can easily say that they want to promote women, and may put forth a strategic plan or agenda....

Read More