It's 2019, and Western Railway has decided to keep up with the changing times. The government organisation that operates trains in and around the Mumbai area is modernising the logo used to mark women’s coaches, by replacing the image of a woman with a ghunghat (veil) with that of a woman in a power-suit.
The redesigning of the logo was started two months ago, when officials came to a realisation that the picture of a woman in a sari did not adequately reflect the woman of today. To further reiterate the image of the modern Indian woman, posters of successful women like badminton star Saina Nehwal, cricketer Mithali Raj and astronaut Kalpana Chawla, with details of their achievements will be displayed inside the coaches as well. In an interview given to Mumbai Mirror, Chief PRO of WR, Ravinder Bhakar explained the thought behind this decision:
"The idea was to adopt an icon that will do justice and represent today's women in this city, who are independent and successful”, he said, adding that although an internal team designed several images, senior officials felt that a woman in a suit reflected the confident, modern Indian woman.
With numerous working-women using these trains for their daily commute, this new, updated logo represents an Indian woman they can all identify with. By discarding imagery that subjugates women to false norms of modesty, Western Railway has instead chosen to adopt a full-frontal woman dressed in modern work-wear, as is the preferred choice of many office-going women today.
One can argue, however, that representation, whether it's in pop culture or railway logos, is an important way of making people from different race, culture, and ethnicity feel visible and recognised. By changing its logo of a woman donning a ghunghat to one wearing a suit, Western Railways could be seen to be perpetuating the idea that a woman wearing a business suit is 'a woman of today', whereas one in a sari is not. Instead of this tokenism, it might have been better if they focused on making railway commutes safer for women and increasing the number of ladies' coaches.
What do you think about this change of logo? A step in the right direction or unnecessary?