Recently I spoke at the World Bank’s Transforming Transportation Summit in Washington DC. I was specifically asked to weigh in at a panel titled “Transport is not Gender-Neutral,” and I am given to understand that it is the first time that they had this focus on gender.
The #MeToo movement has certainly pushed the conversations on gender, gender equality and sexual harassment to the forefront of every event and organisation. It has forced people to think actively about gender and gender-related issues, including on transport, a system which is an integral part of so many people’s daily lives.
Women constitute most users of public transport around the world, yet their commute is rarely hassle-free. According to World Bank, some 80 percent of women are afraid of being harassed while using public transport. The International Labour Organisation “Women at Work” report states that in developing countries, safety concerns and limited access to transport reduces the probability of women participating in the labor market by 16.5 percent, with serious consequences on the economy. The global GDP could grow by an additional $5.8 trillion if the gender gap in male and female labor force participation is decreased by 25 percent by 2025.