Chariot: a ride aiming to save damsels in distress

A ladies only Uber.

I first heard about this offering on NPR via Callie Crossley. I was surprised at how open she was to the idea, a service based on discrimination. A point, that to her credit, she openly acknowledged the hypocrisy of.

To be honest, I was really against the idea at first. I see Chariot the same way I see laws banning protesters from standing outside abortion clinics, as a quick fix for a larger issue.

Running with the abortion clinic example, the issue is not the protesters, the issue is stigma around abortion.  Remove the protesters, you’re not removing the stigma, but if we raise girls to be strong enough to walk through those protesters, then we’re fighting that stigma.

With Chariot, yes it offers a “safe haven” for women who do not feel comfortable with a male driver, and there have been issues with drivers assaulting female passengers, BUT (and I say this from a point of privileged where I’ve never been sexually assaulted) the issue here is not a lack of safe taxis, but rather an issue with how we raise men. We are removing women from a situation, instead of insisting men do not act violent.

The other issue I have with this service is, as we move away from the gender binary, there are a lot of people who are not strictly “female” in the traditional sense, who I feel comfortable saying face as much if not more violence toward them.  Where do trans people fall in this matter? What about gay men who get into a cab and do not feel comfortable because of the male driver?

I also think the fact this company is founded by a man who wants to save women, is very problematic.

With that said, it does offer some women an appealing choice for a seemingly less threatening alternative to Uber, but I am very hesitant to jump for feminist joy.

It is also worth noting that Chariot will need to adhere to Mass anti-discrimination laws. I’ll be keeping my eyes open on how that plays out.

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