Module 2: Challenges for Mainstreaming Gender in Transport
Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

2.3. Key Gender Constraints on Travel and Access to Transport

Key gender constraints on travel and access to transport are found at the local, regional and national levels, and within communities, institutions and legislation. The need to address these constraints by working across several sectors and often involving several levels of stakeholders is one of the major challenges in effectively mainstreaming gender into the transport sector.

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1. Socio-Cultural Constraints
  • Some cultural traditions prohibit women's and girls' use of public transport and IMTs.
  • Men generally control household income resulting in control of women's mobility and also use of IMTs.
  • Fear of sexual harassment limits women's, and girls' use of public transport.
2. Limited Affordability and Reliability of Transport
  • Fares can limit women's use of transport due to their lower purchasing power.
  • Women's limited ability to pay provides no incentives to transport service providers to respond to their travel needs.
  • Routes and schedules seldom respond to women's multi-task transport needs in off-peak hours.
  • Measures to prevent harassment and injuries are inadequate.
  • Road safety measures for pedestrians are inadequate.
3. Limited Voice in Transport Planning
Limited attention is given to women's needs in planning transport projects.
  • Focus is on roads rather than on the network of footpaths and footbridges that many women rely on.
  • Affordability and reliability of transport are constraints to mobility, especially for women.
  • Many IMTs are developed with men, and not with women, in mind.
  • Very few women hold senior positions in transport and other ministries dealing with transport.
  • Interviewers for transport planning studies are often men who may have limited access to women informants and also can ignore the concerns of youth.
4. Barriers to Transport Sector Employment
  • Information networks that bypass women.
  • Stereotypes of appropriate work for women.
  • Gender differential in pay rates.
  • Gender inequalities in access to schooling and training.
  • Gender differential in access to public sector works programs:
    • Men try to monopolize public sector works programs when cash payment is provided.
    • More women tend to participate in public sector works when payment is in kind (food) which tends to have a lower economic return.
    • Public works labor opportunities are often far from the community, making it difficult for women to participate.
5. Obstacles for Women Transport Entrepreneurs
  • Lack of access to credit and other facilities such as renting or purchasing equipment and vehicles.
  • Limited access to technical training.
  • Difficult for small companies, owned by women or men, to compete for road maintenance contracts.
6. Time Burden of Domestic Chores
  • Several production hours lost every day.
  • Health costs from loss of energy, head and back injuries, etc.
  • Girls taken out of school to carry water and fuel and provide child care support.
7. Barriers to High Agricultural Productivity
  • Time wasted in getting to and from fields.
  • Post harvest loss because produce cannot be marketed.
  • More limited access to technical assistance.
  • More limited access to credit.
  • Lack of mobility forces reliance on middlemen.
  • Women's limited time flexibility constrains their ability to take advantage of fluctuations in prices of produce.
  • Time constraints also limit women's ability to cultivate higher yield varieties which require planting when rains begin or extra labor for weeding, harvesting, etc.
8. Institutional and Decision-Making Barriers
  • Gender differentials in hiring, advancement, and salary policies.
  • Organizational leadership's and staff's lack of gender-awareness.
  • Lack of a critical mass of women in positions that influence policy and program design.
  • Poor management and corruption that squanders public funds which could benefit women, youth, and the elderly.
  • Top-down decision-making that ignores local perspectives and needs.
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