Friday, March 13, 2009

Pink equals Women Only

From Middle East Online, a quirky story of a business built upon discrimination:
"A taxi firm in Lebanon has unveiled a new concept geared toward women, complete with a fleet of pink cars and pink-attired female drivers ready to keep the sexes apart.

"Initially, I thought I would have a rough time finding female taxi drivers given that in Lebanon this is a man's job," said Nawal Yaghi Fakhri, owner of "Taxi Banat" or "Taxi for Women" which was launched on Tuesday.

"But to my surprise I got about 40 requests."

The initiative, the first of its kind in Lebanon, has won the backing of the tourism ministry keen to cater to a growing clientele of wealthy female tourists from conservative Muslim countries in the Gulf region.

"This is the second such company to open in (Arab countries of) the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates," Lina Ghanem, a spokeswoman at the tourism ministry, said.

The company's drivers will only serve women.

A women-only cab company was also launched two years ago in the Islamic republic of Iran, which frowns upon the mingling of the sexes, although men and women do sit together in shared taxis.

The idea, however, has not gone down well with some in Lebanon. "This is what you call sexual discrimination," joked Jad Fakhoury, a Lebanese businessman who attended the launch ceremony."

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