THERE seems quite a row over some pseudo-intellectuals drumming up the issue of women driving or not driving motorcycles in our towns to keep the pot stirring and to give the issue a hue as if it were a ‘life-threatening’ matter without which women shall be deprived of their unsought right.

Since women generally do not prefer to ride motorcycles (frankly most of them cannot even ride a simple bike), there is hardly anyone who objects to women riding bikes or straddling behind the rider.

Motorbiking is a risky thing even for men today lest women be opened to the driving hazard given the enormous increase in population, bad roads, bad traffic sense and deplorable traffic system and congestion.

The unnecessary armchair proponents of women motorcycling seem oblivious of the changes that have occurred since the 1970s when one could ride a bike safely in a small town with his wife straddled behind him and holding a baby.

They would, however, not tell the public at large what prevented them, their pillion-riding women and the baby they clenched from wearing helmets for safety.

They also forget to state the reasons or even look at them as to why our women do not straddle and sit with their feet on one side of the motorcycle.

It may not be out of point to mention that normally our womenfolk liked the way they sat behind the rider because in that posture they feel more comfortable, safe and it is also convenient for them to be seated in that fashion due to the typical nature of their costumes and preferences.

It is wrong to assert that women sit behind that way due to social or religious bar.

Those who try to heed the need for women to drive motorcycles need to learn more about their socio-cultural determinants rather than malign religion for it.

MAZHAR BUTT Karachi

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Comments (17)

akki
March 9, 2013 9:11 am
lol
Md Imran
March 9, 2013 1:25 pm
Sorry, but i disagree. I dont think women should be allowed to drive motorcycles. It is against our culture of modesty, and against Allah's wish.
saminaR
March 9, 2013 2:36 pm
Recently in Amritsar I saw women of all ages, and it appeared a variety of professions including home makers, driving their motor bikes extremely confidently in the midst of the usual chaotic traffic we encounter in our towns. This is so in many Indian towns and is possible here as our middle and lower middle class grows in numbers. Mobility for women is critical and in Lahore we occasionally glimpse a woman going about her business on a bicycle or motorbike. We saw more women going to colleges and work in the 1950s than we do now. What a shame!
G.A.
March 9, 2013 3:19 pm
Pakistan now has women fighter pilots. That's a risky thing too isn't it? Perhaps women prefer not to ride bikes due to mens' refusal to stop gawking at them or harassing them. Let them ride bikes today if they wish so that they can become fighter pilots tomorrow. They are equal to men whether male chauvinists like it or not and they deserve the freedom.
pathanoo
March 9, 2013 3:37 pm
WOW!!!!! What an important topic of national priority.
FactCheck
March 9, 2013 5:14 pm
Flying fighter jets is not as risky as riding motorbikes. Other planes even less. If statistical facts mean anything to you.
Iram
March 9, 2013 5:33 pm
The writer's condescension towards women makes me cringe. Many women, including me, love to ride bikes and yes motorbikes when outside of Pakistan. While in USA I rode a bike to university everyday. It was one of the most enjoyable things of my stay there. The simple pleasure and independence of it. Back in Pakistan, I am again dependent on my family to provide me a car because I still cant afford the expensive crap that goes for cars here. And since no other personal transport (bike, motorbike, scooter) is 'socially acceptable' for me, I am stuck. I'd love to bike to my office everyday only I really don't want the inevitable ogling, harassment and catcalls that I'll have to go through everyday. Affordable independent transport is not a luxury or an expression of rebellion for 'westernized' women as the author would like to believe. It is about choices in life and access to education, employment, freedom from dependence, and ultimately economic freedom. I am lost for words at the callousness and misogyny of this letter and the writer's total inability to look at the issue from women's perspective.
Saz
March 9, 2013 6:39 pm
Yes we should keep women all home all safe and nice, after all its very dangerous crossing the road. It it not culture that is stopping any thing it is those who want to impose Arab culture on us.
Iram
March 10, 2013 7:00 pm
Well why are you so worried about it? It's the women who will have to answer for it. Let them make their decision. Who are you to make that decision for them? It's their life and afterlife. It's not against our so-called culture of modesty, its against our culture of controlling women's mobility and thus their social interactions and opportunities in life.
Ahmed
March 9, 2013 8:54 pm
Next time you take your Mr. Butt outside Pakistan (even neighboring India is good enough), keep your eyes open and learn that women are as good at riding bikes or motorbikes as any Pakistani male. If not better (given that most Pakistani males have poor exercise habits).
andy (ON, Canada)
March 10, 2013 2:59 pm
i urge you to visit Pune Banagalore and Mumbai also. you will be surprised to see how many girls and women are dependent on BIKES. I don't know what is the difference between these cities and say Lahore and Karachi. what do the majority of lower and middle class females use for daily conveyance there?
G.A.
March 10, 2013 5:31 pm
@Factcheck - Fine. If you wish to go the 'stastics' route then lets compare apples to apples. Fill up the skies with as many fighter jets as motorbikes and I'll ask you what's riskier.
Ajaya K Dutt
March 10, 2013 5:29 am
Try banning women riding motorcycle in India or west. Why should a women, just because she is in Pakistan, be forced to give up this option. She should be free to excercise this option. If this is a safety matter then men should be banned too.
khanm
March 10, 2013 11:46 am
i dont think there should be any problems. as long as they dont ride in mini skirts. Does this nation have any thing better to discuss. what is wrong with us
andy (ON, Canada)
March 10, 2013 3:05 pm
sorry but the bikes came in use only in twentieth century. who conveyed the message what God wishes?
Agha Ata (USA)
March 10, 2013 3:17 pm
Riding motorcycle in India and in the rest of the world is not as risky as it is in Pakistan. If a little general knowledge about the world means anything to you
mazbut
March 10, 2013 1:11 pm
Flying is still quite rare for women. Moreover, flying is not a basic need for the ordinary woman for common use, motobiking may be so. Comparing motorcycling women with flier women is fundamentally absurd n is like comparing cake with bread.....
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