Ethics Quiz: SheTaxis

In Great Britain, SheTaxis also offers female drivers only , but apparently with a different market in mind....

In Great Britain, SheTaxis also offers female drivers only, but apparently with a different market in mind….

If a white customer doesn’t feel comfortable with a black taxi driver, that’s bias. If a Christian customer doesn’t want to give his business to a Muslim driver, that’s bigotry. If a white cabbie refuses to pick up a black man looking for a ride, that’s racism. And if a woman insists on only female cab drivers, who in turn will only pick up women, that’s…SHETAXIS!!!

From the New York Times:

A new livery service starting Sept. 16 in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island will offer female drivers exclusively, for female riders, according to its founder. It will take requests for rides through an app, and dispatch drivers sporting hot pink pashmina scarves.

“The service will be called SheTaxis — SheRides in New York City because of regulations barring it from using “taxi” in its name — and aims to serve women who may feel uncomfortable being driven by men, or who simply prefer the company of other women. The app will ask potential riders if there is a woman in their party. If not, they will be automatically redirected to other car services.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is:

Is this ethical…

a) for customers?

b) for the service?

My answers, without question: no, and no:

a) If I refuse to hire a cab driver because she is a women, that is pure bigotry, and no different than refusing to hire a cabby because of race, religion, or age. “Not feeling comfortable” is just a rationalization for disrespectful and unfair treatment. Get over it. Do women have some special dispensation where their discomfort is more valid than those of men? No. You’ve come a long way, baby! Suck it up.

b) The service is even worse. OK, it gets around the laws by various means. I’m not ethically impressed. This is enterprise profiting from promoting divisiveness and intolerance, as well as a double standard that defies justification. Next up: cabbies who make Republicans, progressives, homophobes, racists and atheists feel “comfortable.”

The New York Times article, you will note, doesn’t even hint at any problems with this scheme, and seemingly couldn’t find any woman who didn’t think SheTaxis wasn’t a swell idea.  The war on women, you see, is an outrage, but the war on men is just common sense.


Facts: New York Times

Graphic: News Serve

93 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: SheTaxis

  1. Jack:
    Spot on.

    Perhaps we should extend this to all types of professions. Perhaps women drivers can only be served by female AAA tow truck drivers who change their flat tire along the interstate in the rain. Maybe, they should only be able to be seen by female attorneys or doctors that need to interact with them in the privacy of the office. In short, perhaps we should prohibit women from interacting with any man other than their chosen partner. I believe under Sharia law that is the prescription. Most women would abhor this but have no problem with it being a voluntary option. I also think that most women would find a business that only employs men or grants services to only men a misogynistic patriarchal practice to keep women economically disadvantaged.

    Those that are of the belief that the majority of men are sexual predators have a nihilistic view of the world. It is for this reason that I will not stop for or offer assistance to any female stranded motorist; for fear that I could be falsely accused of something. I no longer talk to children in a friendly manner who may try to engage me. I turn and walk away because I fear that I will be labeled as a predator.

    From a predation perspective men have more to fear than women. Far more men are attacked, injured and killed than women but that goes unstated. One could also make the claim that women have used the “patriarchal” court system to financially rape men and keep their children away from their male ex’s.

  2. Hmm, your feelings on the ethics of women-only ob/gyn practices? Is that also unethical for a woman to not to go to a male doctor in that situation, merely because he is a man?

    • That was one of the only legitimate exceptions I could think of, and that only applies to the customer-service end. Although it would be unethical, I suppose, for an ab/gyn to refuse to treat a man who needed whatever it is that they do.

      The other: divorce attorneys.

          • Actually my first instinct is to agree with you, that it is indeed unethical, and probably also illegal. But now I’m examining my feelings on this. With the bathroom example, as the trend goes toward unisex bathrooms, many women resist it, stating that they are in a vulnerable situation and space, and do not feel safe sharing such an area with strange men.

            I can see the utility of the cabs for certain religious communities that forbid women from being with unrelated men. It seems from the article that less than 5% of NYC cabdrivers are women, so a person is highly unlikely to get a women from randomly hailing cabs. It is a dangerous job for anyone, being alone with a stranger of unknown intentions in a private space, often late at night. Even more so for a woman, who, whether as a customer or driver, will almost certainly be with someone who is stronger than she is, and who can easily overpower her once she is isolated.

            As someone else noted on this thread, men are more likely to be the recipients of violence than women, but the perpetrators are also men too. When women are the recipients of violence, the perpetrators are also men too. Woman to woman violence is the least common occurrence. I can see the cab service as a needed niche. So I’m torn. I don’t like sex segregation, but I can’t knee jerk and say that is always unethical either. There are certain situations where it is definitely needed and ethical. But I just don’t know if this one of them.

            • An interesting question about religious reasons for using this service. At a US university a library patron asked the female reference librarian to assist him because his religious beliefs required him not to conduct “business” with a woman. Should the library be required to comply? If no, than why? The safety issue is a bad argument. There are very simple steps that can be taken to ensure a cab ride is safer. Get in the car and call a friend and say, “Hi, I’m at ABC. I should be at XYZ in 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s me, I’m in taxi 123.”

                • If I’m on a business trip to a strange city, I don’t have anyone to call, hence the taxi. I may not have a car to get in and must depend on strangers. The city and section of that city had the dubious honor of being murder capital. I was very limited in what I could do aside from calling a cab.

                  Now this special colored taxi is patronizing, makes both the passengers and cab drivers targets, and I see a risk with a special scarf being false colors too. So this is a bad, bad idea.

                  But just because I want equal career opportunities and education doesn’t mean I can and should ignore that I am more physically vulnerable, I would be blamed for being in the city and not being able to defend myself. Applauding the dismissal of safety concerns seems decidedly unfair when women not being careful enough is a common criticism after a crime. Can’t take both sides. There’s no physical reason why a woman can’t be a taxi driver, but the safety issue is a real one.

                  I would feel safer with a female driver, but I know there aren’t enough demographically. The other reasons: race, religion, age, national origin, are not as much a factor.

                  • “If I’m on a business trip to a strange city, I don’t have anyone to call, hence the taxi.”

                    That’s really the point of the phone call. It doesn’t have to be anyone local or actually at the location where you are going. What it does is leave an identifying record of where you are and what taxi you are in. If the taxi can easily be identified it helps deter those with bad intent. It doesn’t accuse those who don’t mean me harm.

                    On a purely frivolous note. If I think the drivers from SheTaxis are going to be more chatty I’ll be less likely to call. I wish that was an preference when booking a car service. I’m generally cranky after my flight, don’t talk to me beyond the basics.

                  • PRETEND you’re talking to someone on the phone. The cab driver only hears what YOU say and isn’t going to know there isn’t someone on the other end of the line. Good lord. (Not that there is one.)

              • Religion is just an excuse for prejudice and bigoted behavior. If a man tells a female library employee he wants to be helped only by a man she should say, “Clearly I have more balls than you and you’re a dickless wonder, so let’s call it even. Now, how can I help you? Or are you actually beyond help at this point?”

      • Actually that very issue came up about a year ago when the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology banned the treatment of men by ob/gyns for several months before being forced to relent. From what I recall of the ban issue, there are problems like pelvic nerve damage which ob/gyns are especially qualified to treat, even when men suffer from them.

    • There is a stark difference between consumer choice and equality in public accommodations. Women and men have the right to choose what practitioner makes them feel comfortable. Conversely, business establishments are not afforded that choice as they must serve all that desire services and are ready, willing and able to pay for the service.

      Creating gender specific enterprises violates the public policy of equality of treatment in public establishments. Theoretically what Shetaxis is doing is promoting a separate but equal policy. Many of the comments on the article condoned the idea because they felt vulnerable late at night. One went so far as to claim 2 rapes by cabbies in Chicago and the one I found most interesting referred to males as alpha and beta types with respect to male to male conversations and it was the beta males that were trying to prove themselves as the alpha males did not have to resort to such loutish behavior. I assume she prefers the alpha males and has made her desires known. Not one commenter ever suggested that an inappropriate gesture or comment or behavior be filed with the taxi commission. Instead, all we have are unsubstantiated “facts” that will be used to justify a feeling and reinforce in women that they are victims of sexual assault or violence at the hands of men.

      Nothing prevents a consumer from requesting/choosing a specific practitioner for the services he or she wishes to purchase. Notwithstanding, no firm may deny service to anyone based on sex or other protected class. If a firm wants to fill a market niche by providing a female driver to those that request on is fine with me provided they also provide services to anyone that requests such services.

      Obviously an Ob/Gyn’s practice is limited to female patients unless something has changed in biology to my understanding. This does not mean that only women are permitted to study and practice medicine on female patients. Women can also choose a less effective female divorce attorney at their own peril if they wish, but such attorneys cannot say they will only represent female clients; although any male that pressured one to do so would be at a disadvantage in court even if she were a superior attorney.

      As for unisex bathrooms, I as a male would feel very uncomfortable with a woman sharing that facility at the same time. I do not fear an assault. I just feel uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want some women from sizing me up either. Furthermore, having worked as a facility manager of a building, the women’s restrooms are left far dirtier for some unexplained reason. I like clean ones.

      It should be noted that in most cases of violence against women she knows the perpetrator. In contrast male on male violence the assailant may be known but that is the exception. The likelihood of being attacked by an unknown cab driver is very low. Unfortunately for the cab driver the likelihood of being robbed and killed is quite high relatively speaking. Therefore it is the cabbie that should fear the unknown passenger rather than vice versa.

      In terms of actual violence against women they are disproportionately less victimized by assailants than males. Nonetheless domestic violence victim advocates who are principally female make the claim that 1 in every 3 women are or will be a victim of male on female violence. These statistics are based on reported cases of domestic violence divided by the female population. If they are to be believed and are universally distributed across the population then 1 our of every 3 men walking down the street is a criminal or female batterer. According the these advocates 1 in 3 males should be incarcerated. These same advocates play down the DOJ numbers that women are equally guilty of being the initiators of domestic violence because they wind up more injured.

      According to the DOJ women are more likely to initiate the attack with a knife or thrown object while men are guilty of “gripping, holding or hitting.” The DOJ also includes sexual assault by men on the co-habitating partner in these statistics. This is a relatively new phenomenon that correlates very clearly with the development of the idea of “date rape” and marital rape. There is no current affirmative defense against either. All that is needed to convict a male is an after the fact charge supported by the woman’s claims and a positive test for a sexual encounter.

      Many victim advocates excuse female violence as an outburst of frustration and exasperation while male violence is rooted in the need to dominate and control women. Would not the feeling of need to dominate and control arise out of frustration and exasperation in men? If men are genetically predisposed to such abominable behavior then how do we alter that? Would women feel more comfortable if we just castrated boys at birth? If not a genetically based trait then why do men feel the need to be alpha males? I will leave the theories to others.

      All of these determinations were made by interviewing and collecting stories from women in shelters; hardly a representative sample of opinions from all concerned. As one advocate put it, men see a simple slap across the face as justification for beating the “crap” out of the woman or throwing her across the room. Domestic violence victim advocates diminish the rate of female violence statistics by men’s groups as a “false equivalence” because women seek more medical care, counseling, and lose more time from work. Ironically, these same studies report that men feel that the level of violence perpetrated against them by women is not that severe and seek less treatment. That is telling in many ways. First it uses the male psyche against him because if he cries out for help he is a seen as a wimp and secondly it is the basis for claiming that women do less injury to men even if she initiated the violence.

      Violence takes on many forms. Economic violence occurs when one with resources shakes down another for political and economic gain. Physical violence is obvious and psychological violence is the most insidious because it is always used to convince the person to act in a manner that will hurt themselves. SheTaxis is perpetrating economic and psychological violence by creating the illusion that men are not welcome in society and women should fear all men.

      Physical violence and the threat of such violence serves only one purpose to dissuade others from using it against them or others first. Otherwise it has no place in civil society.

      • Chris has captured the overall points well. As I read the post and comments I can’t get past the hypocrisy, many of the same people who think this is a great idea to counter a perceived threat, I have yet to see data supporting that there is a real threat, are supporters of putting women in the infantry. They also tend promote the idea that most men are rapists but oppose gun rights. They believe women can do anything a man can do but also believe women due to their inherently less capable physical capabilities automatically be granted victim status. Now they propose that not only are women less physically capable but also less mentality capable, that being uncomfortable is enough to cause harm to women and special concessions must be made. This idea is already rooted, as can be seen with drunk sex consent issue and it will continue to expand.

  3. Women claim that women should be considered equally for all jobs. They claim they are tough enough to handle any job that a man can handle. Then, women insist that things like this need to exist because the world that men have to deal with is too scary for women. They claim that they need special standards and special programs to help them succeed and overcome. I wonder how long it will take women and minorities to realize they are hurting themselves when they demand special treatment.

    I heard someone say that when they look for a new doctor, they look for a white male doctor because they know that he didn’t get any special treatment, that his medical degree didn’t come with an asterisk. This person said they knew it sounded bad, but that they couldn’t risk choosing an incompetent doctor and statistically, they were better off with a white male.

  4. As a woman I find this concept appalling and unethical. If a man refused to do business with me because I am a woman it would be unethical. It’s no less so because it’s women discriminating against men. Women should not insist that they are just as competent and tough as men then act as fragile, hot house flowers. As the mother of adult sons it infuriates me that some continually portray all men as victimizers of women. They are individuals and treating them as criminals before the fact is bigotry.

  5. Agreed, Michael. The other thing that is incongruous is how women are working so hard to stamp out men-only establishments (Augusta stands out in my memory) while insisting on women-only gyms (Curves) and businesses like this taxi service.

  6. The only solution I can see that addresses both the desire of women to not be driven by men whom they may fear, and protect female taxi drivers while they do a dangerous job, is for both of these groups to make sure that they are well armed as they navigate their way through the mean streets of wherever.

    • This occurred to me as well.

      And it must be hard to be a member of a group that insists that the world must regard them as capable of all roles and equal to all others when so many of that group don’t see themselves that way and demand double standards, special considerations and privileges while feigning confidence and competence.

      • You can have all the competence and confidence in the world, but no amount of either means that the average woman is stronger than the average man. Competence doesn’t mean that a woman would be able to overpower a regular guy in a one-on-one situation, especially in very close quarters.

        People call cabs because they are often in vulnerable situations to begin with. Perhaps they are too drunk to drive home safely. Or they don’t know anyone in town, or they are tired and don’t feel like taking public transportation. Those tend to be precisely the times that predators strike. I can’t out of hand dismiss women’s safety concerns in this matter. It is a valid concern.

        For me, the question becomes, on the customer side, does someone’s valid safety concerns trump society’s need to appear sexually nondiscriminatory? You accede that in matters gynecological, women may ethically discriminate on the basis of sex in choosing their medical providers. Which I agree with. But in the matter of a plain multi-stall bathroom (stalls only), you also seem to agree that that can ethically be sex-segregated (which I also agree with). Obviously there is a line between the permissible and non permissible in sex segregation, but I’m not sure if this cab service crosses that line, though I do think it flirts with it, like the bathroom example.

    • Ah yes, the Wild West scenario, where everyone is strapped, everywhere. That can only end well. Watch as minor disputes become free-for-all shoot-outs with bullets flying everywhere. I guess there really are no problems that simply having even more guns can’t solve.

      • Can’t have it all ways at once, though. Women who disdain chivalry as demeaning had better find another means of equaling the perceived threats. If women don’t want to be treated as “the weaker sex,”–and they shouldn’t because it undermines them– then they can’t justify discrimination and double standards on that basis.

        • I agree that a company that refuses to pick up customers based on their gender is unethical. There aren’t many ways to equalize the threat that the gender-based disparity in size, muscle mass, and power for the average woman driver, which is probably one of the reasons there are so few women drivers. They have accurately assessed the risk and opted out.

          But on the customer side, I have harder time seeing how it is unethical for a woman to request a woman driver. How is that any more unethical than a woman supporting single sex restrooms? Or an ob/gyn? In all those cases the woman is in a vulnerable position, and she has to depend on the actions of others not take advantage of her vulnerability. Can she not take rational steps to ensure her own safety? There is a reason why we don’t apply strict scrutiny to sex discrimination cases the way we do with race cases. Sometimes there are sound reasons to treat the sexes differently.

          • Deery if women are inherently more emotionally and physically vulnerable then maybe they need to stay home or find a man to look out for them, they certainly don’t belong in the workforce where emotional and physical stresses are more common.

            • I don’t recall saying that women are more emotionally vulnerable. I don’t know how one would measure such a thing as “emotional vulnerability.” I will leave that one up to the philosophers. But as far as physical power goes, do you agree that on average, men are physically stronger than women?

              …maybe they need to stay home or find a man to look out for them, they certainly don’t belong in the workforce where emotional and physical stresses are more common.

              I’m not sure if there is more emotional or physical stress at the average white collar workforce or at the home. I would consider it a wash for the most part. Blue collar work is another matter altogether, which is probably why far fewer women engage in that type of work. And of course there is pink collar work, which does actually tend to be physically stressing, though not particularly dangerous.

              I think most women are individuals fully capable of assessing their own risk tolerance, and proceeding accordingly. This risk tolerance will differ from woman to woman, the same way that it does for men. I think one can ethically protect one’s own safety. I also think one can unethically protect one’s own safety as well. The only question for me at this point is, as a customer, would it be unethical for a woman on her way home, tipsy, alone, late at night, to call a cab company and request a woman cab driver rather than a male one? It is a fine line, but I don’t think it is unethical for her to do so. I do think it is a biological reality that she is in a far more vulnerable place with a male cab driver than a female one, and she should be allowed to manage and assess her own risks in this situation. That is all.

              • How many rapists are employed as cabbies right now? That’s what we are talking about. There is no requirement for a lady to have to drop her panties in the cab as there is at the doctors or restroom. So how many customers are being raped by their drivers?

                • I don’t where those figures are compiled in the United States, but London reports somewhere between 100-160 officially reported rapes by cab drivers in a given year. A casual Google search shows plenty of reported rapes and sexual assaults by cab drivers in the United States, usually on drunk and sleeping female passengers.

                  Just as an interesting and related article, as I was googling, I ran across this story of a woman who was writing about her rape by a cab driver, only to discover that another writer for the same magazine was also raped by the same man.

      • Although I do enjoy people using the cliche “Wild West scenario”, it indicates ignorance about the level of gun violence that occurred in the west in the second half of the 19th century. You would have been much safer in the west, even Missouri, than in say, the 5 Points neighborhood of New York. A heavily armed society is a polite society. Or, as I like to point out, nothing quite so wonderfully focuses one’s mind on one’s own conduct as the prospect of having one’s brains blown out for being a fucking criminal scumbag. A philosophy that serves the great state of Texas well to this day.

      • Odd that in places where firearms proliferate *in the hands of the law abiding* these blood baths seem noticeably non-occurring…

        Do Leftists ever get tired of their memes long after their memes are worn out from over use?

        Do y’all ever print out new Lying Points Memos?

  7. Recently my wife had to undergo an operation, and before it we met the doctors involved – only one was a man. There was some friendly banter about giving him a chance, and no one was offended or thought it weird. Granted, we have very good relationship with our doctor, but I wonder if all this PC and anti-PC crud will end up extinguishing this remarkably human moments.

  8. I find myself a little torn on the issue. But I’ll say this. If my cabbie looked anything like that fantastic female in the picture, she could drive me anywhere and for as long as her little heart desired! Some experiences are priceless.

  9. At first, I thought this whole idea was amusing, if a little idiotic. I mean, we’re talking about a city, here, where two or three CABBIES are killed/robbed/attacked a night…who cares whether the passenger feels comfortable or not? Then my wife tells me that cabbies have been known to attack riders, which I did not know. She watches way more news than I, so I’ll take her word for it. That it is, academically, unethical, I agree with. But what about the MALE rider who will feel safer with a female cabbie? Practically, is it unethical for a female to feel safer with a female driver? Then, finally, I found myself agreeing with some of the points deery made, and we never agree on ANYTHING. I think I’ll go back to bed for a while.

  10. I agree that consumers get to make a choice — but employers do not. And, it’s not a double standard. Just about every buying choice we make has a subjective quality involved. I like the French bakery in my neighborhood — because I enjoy the owners and listening to their accents — in addition to the baked goods. I like the Italian-owned pizzeria in my neighborhood because the sweet owner walks from table to table talking to the customers. I go there even if there is better pizza around me because I enjoy the experience. I have Christian friends who try and patronize Christian-owned businesses and Mormon friends who do the same. If I get a massage, I prefer having a female therapist, although I won’t object to a male. My husband would never let a male therapist touch him though — and most of the men I know feel the same way. Some choices we make as consumers are to make us more comfortable (like a spa therapist’s gender) to something silly (like the accent of a bakery owner).

    As for taxis, I don’t care about the gender of the driver, but I do care that they are licensed. That license gives me an additional feeling of safety — because being alone in a cab does make one feel vulnerable. I was once robbed in a taxi by the driver (this was in a foreign country). What I will not do is use uber or a private taxi — it boggles my mind that people willingly get into strangers’ cars.

    • It’s not a double standard…men engage in these biases too, and women suffer from them more than men do. Which is why women need to think before they model behavior they would deride in men.

      • When it comes to buying decisions, I see women having the most power. But, I do agree that I see what you are talking about in the workplace. I’ve seen it my entire life, but there is nothing sinister about it. I work with mostly men, and I don’t have a single female superior — I’m it. Although the guys invite me to lunch I do sense a sigh of relief when I don’t go. One of my peers told me that their discussions are totally different when I’m not there because a woman in the crowd forces them to be more polite I guess (or not endlessly discuss fantasy football). And I get that. The majority of my friends are female — we just talk about different things. This becomes a problem though as people tend to promote people with whom they have more things in common — all things otherwise being equal. So a male-dominated company will tend to have more men in leadership, even if that wasn’t the agenda.

    • “I agree that consumers get to make a choice — but employers do not. And, it’s not a double standard.”

      You realize that Shetaxis does both, right? If ‘women drive cabs for women’ is their business model, they’ll never hire a man.

      I don’t know where I sit on the legality of the practise, it galls me as a man, and I think it’s unethical, but I’m not sure the state should interfere…. I think the practise should die on it’s own as market forces correct it. That’s the libertarian in me.

      That said, I’m not going to let people call it some kind of bastion of inclusiveness and good planning people seem to think it is.

      • Only in the same way that a spa has to hire female therapists. And it doesn’t mean that shetaxis only hires women. Men may work in accounting, tech, other functions.

        • Then you don’t really mind when women are under represented in CEO positions, right? I mean, most of the secretaries are female. /sarcasm

          The reason your logic doesn’t work is that cab drivers are a mainly male workforce and massage therapists are a mainly female workforce. Is the disparity in hiring practises or is it in disparate decisions in entry and application?

          Hiring an only female taxi force is like hiring an only male therapist force, I just can’t see it working out too well. I think that there’s a demand for the service (due to fear mongering, but it’s there nonetheless), but the talent pool for drivers is going to be shallow, and so in order to attract appropriate and female drivers, Shetaxis is going to have to offer more in compensation than their competitors which would by necessity require a higher fare rate. So we’re going to see how this works, will women pay more for the relative safety provided by a female driver? I bet no.

          • Your analogy falls on its face. You’re assuming that the “driver” is a desired position. I’d much rather be a CEO of a taxi company than a driver. A male strip club only is going to hire male strippers, a female strip club only is going to hire female strippers. I go to a spa that only retains female therapists, because the clientele feels safer taking off their clothes around women.

            A woman or a man can be a CEO. But if the occupation requires a specific gender, than there is nothing wrong with it. Supply and demand will dictate whether or not the company succeeds.

            • And you think cab-driving requires a certain gender? So you support men refusing to hire female driven cabs, then, knowing that will know women out of the field? Isn’t this like poor old Jim Campanis telling Ted Kopel that blacks don’t have “the necessities” to manage baseball teams?

                  • I’m not sure where y’all’s positions stand now on this spur of the discussion, but I would like to tweak Beth and bolster her position that the All-Female-Driver company would very well employ men as well. Mostly in positions such as CEO, CFO, supervisors, boss, decision makers…

                    • Saying it doesn’t make it so. The issue is whether it is ethical—we all agree that it’s legal—for consumers to discriminate on the basis or race, gender, age, ethnic origin, religion and sexual orientation, as well as political belief, regarding professionals and service providers whose responsibilities and services provided in no way are influenced by these categories.

                      MY answer is clear and unequivocal. NO. I still can’t tell whether your answer is YES, or, “It’s OK if women do it, otherwise no.”

                    • It is both ethical and legal for consumers to discriminate against doctors, vendors, etc. if the consumer has a genuine personal or religious objection to the gender of the person offering the services. It is up to the consumer to make that call and he/she shouldn’t be judged by the rest of us because we all are wired differently.

                      That has to be the rule. Otherwise, male strippers could show up for a straight bachelor party. After all, gender is irrelevant ….

            • At this point, with unemployment where it is, all jobs are desired, but you missed the point completely: If a job sex-segregates itself by applicant choice, there isn’t an issue. If a job sex-segregates itself because of employer choices, there’s an issue. Period. There is nothing inherent in femininity that makes a woman a better or worse cab driver than a man. We aren’t talking about OB/GYNs or even massage therapists, we’re talking about cab drivers.

              • No, we’re talking about the “comfort” of the consumer. I feel comfortable having a male ob/gyn — other women do not. So, who is right? Them or me? Obviously, the right answer is for the consumer to be able to state a preference if desired.

                Jack seems to have a test of “Well, if I think there is a comfort/safety test for the consumer involved, then a preference is okay, otherwise a preference is not okay.” Ridiculous test.

                • Huh? How about “if gender has anything obvious to do with it”? I think having people looking at one’s private parts is a valid gender specific concern. I think putting one’s hands on your body (as with masseuses) can meet that test. What possibly is there about cab driving that justifies that “comfort” argument? Bigotry. That’s all. Bias, and nothing else.

                  It fails the test. If you accept that as under your line, realize that the “I don’t trust female professionals of any kind” is in the same category.

                • You know, I’ll go one step further. “Comfort” is a cop-out. “Comfort” is a direct translation of “bias” in any circumstance. You have to explain why you would be uncomfortable, and the answer is “I don’t want a (man/woman) (touching me/lookin at my junk)”. Well…. That doesn’t mean that person would not do their job professionally. It doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t do just as good a job as the other. The choice to sex select your OB/GYN or masseuse IS biased.

                  This goes back to discussions we’ve already had, and a point of mine you’ve never really had an answer to. If a white person walked into a doctor’s office and refused to see a black doctor because the doctor was black, and the patient was uncomfortable around black people, well…. That’s comfort, right? But he’s a racist, right? I think that it’s a useful tool when looking at a situation involving a man and a woman to take a step back, make them both the same gender, and then make them different races and ask yourself ‘is this behavior OK?’ Because we’re all programmed on some level or another, whether biological or sociological to treat gender differently than a lot of things, which is counterproductive to an egalitarian society.

                  • That person probably is racist, but consumers are allowed to be racist — or employ other subjective analysis.

                    But I appreciate the bright line you’ve drawn even if I disagree with it.

                    • See… You have a history of doing that.. You disagree, and then fail utterly to explain the logic behind it, like you expect us to take your word for it, or that your feelings are evidence, or that your very anecdotal personal experiences are evidence. And because you approach these discussions armed with nothing but your feels, I just can’t take your points seriously.

                      I could be wrong. But you need to explain why. Logically.

                    • I’ve explained my logic again and again. At some point, I just have to write “I disagree” because I have a full-time job, another full-time job waiting for me when I get home, and I just don’t have the time (or desire) to win the word count race.

                      Here’s MY proposed bright-line rule for all ethics comments though: “If Tex and Beth both agree, they must be right.” So let it be written, so let it be done!

  11. There do appear to be one or two situations in which this service would be both helpful and allowable, and one of them is mentioned in the article: specifically female Hasidim who, by virtue of their religious regulations, can’t ride with anyone but other women. The same might apply to strictly religious Muslim women who are not supposed to be in the presence of men other than their husbands or brothers. That said, I wonder under what circumstances members of either of those groups, which are traditionally homebodies, would find themselves in need of a taxi service.

    I am familiar with the “I’m not comfortable” argument, and what it usually boils down to is either fear or “ick factor” or just disinterest but the woman is afraid to say any of those because if she did say them it would be correctly taken as an insult. For example, a married female teacher I know always had working lunches with two other teachers, a man and a woman, both unmarried. Their conversations were rarely about anything not having to do with work, and there was never a whiff of any attraction among them. The unmarried female teacher was transferred to another school, and the married female teacher told the unmarried male teacher she “wasn’t comfortable” continuing their working lunches. Over the course of three years working and lunching together none of them had ever stepped out of line or given off the creepy vibe that said there was some undercurrent of attraction, and none of them changed at all, but the moment there was no longer that third person, suddenly there was that level of “discomfort.” Of course the married female teacher would never elaborate, but essentially what she was telling this male teacher was that, despite three years of working together with not even the slightest misbehavior on his part, she (or her husband) didn’t trust him not to morph into either a Don Juan trying to seduce her or a monster who would try to rape her the first chance he got.

    Another woman who was divorced, with zero intentions of remarrying or even dating again, came to be friends with an unmarried man, but, despite them being friends for four years without any undercurrent of either person wanting more (he actually took her statement that she would never marry or date again at face value, not playing hard to get), she would never meet him without a third person present (in public places, of course, visiting one another’s homes was out of the question), although she would meet male friends who were gay or married without third parties present. Her reasons were that she was “not comfortable” with an unattached male and that she was afraid if she were seen with such a person the rumors would fly that she was sleeping around. She even intimated to her friend that she wished he would get married so she would be more comfortable with the friendship. She could dance around the “not comfortable” language all she wanted but the fact is she didn’t trust him, even after four years, not to make a play for her the first chance he got.

    The fact is this all boils down to a culture of deliberate fostering of mistrust and almost demonization of the unmarried man as a possible predator who just can’t control himself, he’s going to try to go after any woman he gets a shot at, whether she likes it or not. Those who foster this myth usually acknowledge that OK, not ALL unmarried men are like that, but you can’t tell who is and who isn’t, and even a man with a clean record MIGHT make a move if the setting is right, therefore no man can be trusted, because safety is paramount. No one can argue with safety being paramount, no matter what absurd degree it is taken to, so services like this flourish.

  12. My quick take on this, without having read any of the longer comments:

    1) If a cab company wants to market specifically towards the extremely tiny market demographic of “Women who Only Want Women Drivers”, it’s product requires Women Drivers. Then that’s fine. The product of a Halal Food Store is Halal Food, do we get to decry them when we can’t find bacon on their shelves? Nope.

    2) But, just like the Halal food store only sells Halal Food (with a target demographic of Muslims), they DON’T get to turn away Non-Muslim shoppers (ethically). So, the Women-who-like-Women-Drivers focused cab company doesn’t get to turn away non-women riders.

    A hyper-libertarian stance would say, yes, proprietors can turn away customers as they wish and let the market punish them for doing so. But I’m still not sold on that libertarian stance just yet.

    Bottom line: I see no problem with them hiring women only, I don’t see a problem with them actively Marketing towards women who want women drivers, I DO see a problem with them actively turning down a male rider who hasn’t let the marketing affect his decision to need a ride.

    • This situation reminds me of the Christian bakery gay wedding cake controversies. You have a business that normally caters to a group, and they want to refuse service to a different group of people based on an arbitrary characteristic.

      In fact, the only difference in the situations that is apparent to me is the people being refused service. In one case it’s gay people, in the other, it’s men. Funny how that works.

      I think it’s fundamentally hypocritical to support gay people in their quest for wedding cakes from Christian bakers, and not men in the quest for a female cab driver from Shetaxis, and I welcome anyone to explain to me why I’m wrong.

      • Actually, I don’t think you are wrong. So far, most people seem to agree that the business supply side is unethical. The only thing people are really debating at this point is whether a customer is unethical for requesting a female driver rather than a male one. From perusing the thread, most people don’t think that is a unethical act, but that opinion is far from 100%.

        • I think that in the realm of a skill where gender should be and is irrelevant (unlike legal advocacy or OB-GYN), such discrimination is pure hypocrisy by a member of any group who would criticize a man who said, “I wouldn’t trust a woman to do that job. Hey, I feel “safer” with non-Muslims. People of my own race. I don’t want some dame representing me in curt—not tough enough.

          I hope that clarifies any lingering doubt from the post.

          It’s unethical. Can’t decry gender bias and embrace it too.

    • Jack,

      If Mr. A, a white actor, has proven himself a far more capable actor by a wide margin than Mr. B, a black actor, would it be unethical to assign the lead role of Nelson Mandela in a Mandela movie to Mr. B?

      Are Mexican restaurants, attempting to sell Mexican culture, unethical when their hiring practices obviously show a preference to Mexican waitstaff? Likewise Chinese restaurants and Chinese people?

      • 1. Not in my casting philosophy, just as I wouldn’t cast a black man as Robert E. Lee. a male actor as Susan B. Anthony, or an Asian dwarf as Wilt Chamberlain.

        2. Tough one, but no, I think they have to avoid discrimination.

        • 1. Because the product you are selling requires a *specific* set of physical characteristics in the person providing that product. That being the case, the Woman Focused cab company isn’t unethical filling the role of Women-Driver-Only positions with Women… they must be unethical for the mere act of offering a cab service that markets exclusively to women…?

    • “A livery car service that aims to connect female customers with taxis driven by women in pink pashmina scarves has delayed its New York launch until it can line up more drivers.”

      I want to point out that I knew that would be a problem, and said so in a reply to Beth earlier: when you take a workforce that is sex segregated like cabbies are, and try to hire only the minority of the group, you’re going to have a supply side problem. I just can’t wait for someone to spin how they can’t find drivers as patriarchal misogyny.

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