Police in Gaza (the Palestinian territory governed by Hamas) have banned women from riding two-wheelers. Till now, women driving bikes and mopeds was indeed a rare sight; but female passenger, perched behind the driver of a two-wheeler, was fairly commonplace.

According to Hamas, riding a two-wheeler requires you to wear trousers. But such an edict is somewhat irksome for women who have to wear a long dress. Although not specified in the Law on Road Traffic 2000, a woman riding a two-wheeler will attract a punishment in the form of a fine of 200 shekels (57 US$ dollars).

Colonel Mahar Alli has come out with this statement: “care must be taken not to misinterpret this decision. Hamas is in favour of gender equality and there is no issue of discrimination here. It is a measure of public security”.

Anoosha Boralessa