This newsletter examines recent publications and blogs that offer insights into the importance of public transport on women’s economic empowerment. Women are less likely to have access to private vehicles and are more likely to travel at off-peak hours when services are less regular. They are also more likely to make multiple stops and to change between different modes of transport which increases costs. If transport options are slow, unreliable, unaffordable, and/or unsafe, women will choose to study in lower-ranked schools and work in lower-paid jobs that are closer to home. These choices have life-long impacts on employment, earnings, and agency.
Do you have any reports, blogs, publications, or events you would like to share with our community? WEESA welcomes input from our members. Next month, the newsletter will share curated information about the impacts of differentiated access to credit (March) on women’s economic empowerment. Please reach out to the WEESA Team to submit content and suggestions related to these or any other topics.
We hope you enjoy this month’s digest and look forward to your comments and contributions.
The WEESA Team
Stepping Out and Stepping Up: Transport and Women’s Economic Empowerment in South Asia
In this blog, SAR GIL’s Sofia Amaral reviews evidence on the link between women’s economic empowerment and transportation, focusing on the four main constraints determining women’s mobility – accessibility, reliability, safety, and affordability of transportation. Read more
Constraints to Women’s Use of Public Transport in Developing Countries
This two-part series provides a comprehensive, yet concise, overview of how public transportation perpetuates gender mobility gaps in developing countries. Part One concentrates on affordability, frequency, coverage, and comfort, with Part Two focusing on safety from accidents and sexual violence. Read Part 1 | Part 2
Women’s Mobility and Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
Physical mobility constraints can have a large impact on job seeking, especially in cities with high crime rates and conservative social norms. This study experimentally varies access to a transport service in Lahore, Pakistan, to quantify impacts on labor markets. Read more
Infrastructure and Girls’ Education: Bicycles, Roads, and the Gender Education Gap in India
Access to all-weather roads and a bicycle can have a complementary effect on secondary school enrollment among girls in Bihar, India. These findings highlight the importance of well-functioning infrastructure for accessing schools and empowering girls. Read more
Global Roadmap of Action: Toward Sustainable Mobility – Gender
Produced by the Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) initiative, this report identifies gaps, necessary steps, and appropriate instruments for improving women’s mobility. It finds that the transport sector lacks diversity, with women underrepresented in all levels of employment and for all modes of transport, and outlines four main sets of interventions and policy measures. Read more
India: Making Public Transport More Women-Friendly Transport authorities have historically prioritized rush hour commuting needs, often overlooking the safety, convenience, and comfort of women's travel, which must be addressed to ensure equality. Read more
Mind the (Gender) Gap: How Cities Are Putting Women at the Heart of Their Transport Strategies
Transportation is one of the biggest barriers to women’s workforce participation globally, but some cities are working to address mobility constraints through changes in policy, planning, infrastructure, and representation of women in the transportation workforce. Read more
Women Need a Greater Role in Designing Transport Systems in Asia
Women have unique travel patterns that need to be considered in transport planning, and their underrepresentation in the sector must be addressed. Read more
Past Event: From Safety to Empowerment: Pathways for Improved Mobility for Women in South Asia
Restricted mobility hinders women's ability to invest in human capital and access quality jobs. Women often face sexual harassment in public spaces and transport, with alarming percentages reporting incidents in South Asia. In this event, leading practitioners discussed ways to enhance safe mobility and improve safety for women and girls in South Asia. Best practices and insights were shared to tackle this pervasive issue. View the recording
Upcoming Event: Save the Date! On March 30WEESA will host a webinar exploring gender differences in the use of transport and what works to ease constraints to women's mobility.
WEESA is the first community of practice (CoP) focused on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in the South Asia region. It is a virtual knowledge-sharing platform that aims to facilitate regional exchange, dialogue, and capacity building on WEE and strengthen linkages between evidence and action. Members are researchers, decisionmakers, policymakers, and development practitioners interested in how to expand and accelerate WEE and gender equality in South Asia. WEESA offers a repository of curated WEE-related resources, organizes regular webinars and events, and provides small grants for local researchers.