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

2.4. Vulnerabilities of Children, Youth and the Elderly

The transport concerns of children, youth and the elderly are frequently overlooked in the sector and are rarely directly addressed. Youth and elderly are vulnerable populations in most communities, and the gender dimensions of transport are also relevant within in each of these categories. Children walking to school are particularly at risk for road accidents, elderly living on fixed incomes or reliant on others for subsistance may not be able to afford public transportation, disabilities and limited access to transport are also major obstacles for these populations.

School based road safety programs, targeted employment and training opportunities, subsidies and specialized transport for the disabled, mobile services such as clinics and pension offices are all opportunties available for addressing these challenges and making a difference for these vulnerable populations.

Risk Profile of Africa's Youth

  • Sixty-two percent of Africa's population is under 24.
  • Forty-one percent of youth (15-24 year olds) are unemployed.
  • Twenty percent of youth complete secondary education.
  • Up to twenty-five percent of all children are expected to be orphans by 2010.
Source: Reaching Africa's Young Strategic Framework Plan 2005-15. World Bank. 2005.

Vulnerabilities of Children and Youth in Developing Countries

  • Lack of opportunity to access and complete primary and/or secondary education.
  • Lack of access to relevant non-formal education on life skills and marketable skills.
  • Lack of access to health and reproductive health information and services.
  • Poor job market opportunities.
  • Limitations imposed by family welfare support systems.
  • High potential for risky behavior:

    • Early unprotected sex and HIV/AIDS infection.
    • Substance abuse.
    • Criminal activity.

The Gendered Nature of Aging in the Developing World

  • Two thirds of the people over 60 live in the developing world.
  • 72 percent of the population over sixty will be living in developing countries by 2025.
  • At age 80, there are 53 men for every 100 women.
Source: UN Gateway to Social Policy and Development: Aging. 2001.

Vulnerabilities of the Elderly in Developing Countries

  • Urbanization and changing social structures are eliminating traditional social safety nets for the elderly.
  • The elderly are at greater risk for accidents.
  • The elderly have greater need for health care and more limited access.
  • The elderly, without traditional social safety nets, are at high risk for poverty.
  • Older women, particularly widows, are among the most vulnerable.

Case Example: Universal Access in Sao Paulo, Brazil

In 1994 when the Rio City Project 1 was initiated, the organization for people with disabilities lobbied the project to address accessibility issues of disabled people. The project hired a local NGO to assist in designing and implementing a Unversal Access approach. The project constructed ramps at sidewalks to facilitate movement for people with disabilities, and for those pushing baby carriages and grocery carts. Texture coded pathways were constructed for visually impaired road users. Street fixtures, such as lamp posts, sign posts, litter baskets, benches, etc., were repositioned and resized to meet accessibility standards. In 1997, the Rio City Project 2 built upon this previous experience of addressing universal accessibility to better incorporate accessibility issues.

Adapted from: Social Analysis of Transport Projects. World Bank 2006.
© 2006 The World Bank, All Rights Reserved.