When Women Couldn’t Hang on Cable Cars

cable car women sfmta photo archive

Did you know that there was a time, not so long ago, when women weren’t allowed to stand outside the cable car? According to the SFMTA blog, until 1965, women couldn’t stand on the running boards outside of the cable cars, which is the hallmark of riding these iconic vehicles.

The practice was changed after Mona Hutchins, a 19-year-old UC Berkeley student and free speech advocate, stood up and was arrested for refusing to yield an unwritten restriction that didn’t apply to men.

The photo above is from the SFMTA Photo Archive, taken in 1967 for the Cable Car Queen contest. It just so happened that today we found the delightful photo of a N-Judah driver proudly wearing her pink pussy hat, as captured by @rebeccafoxmetalsculpture on Instagram.

muni diaries n judah driver pussy hat by rebeccafoxmetalsculpture

Decades later, it’s good to see that some things have changed, and that there are still people fighting the good fight.

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One comment

  • Dexter Wong

    I remember reading in the newspaper about how Mona Hutchins was arrested for riding on the outside of a cable car. It was considered unladylike and unsafe for a woman to ride outside the car standing up holding a stanchion back then.

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