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ITF work on Gender in Transport

Transport plays an important role in providing access to opportunities for citizens. Good mobility policies aim to bring education and health care, jobs and leisure activities within the reach of as many people as possible. Ultimately, universal access is an important key to societies that leave no one behind and enable all citizens to participate and contribute.

Women make up half of the world population, yet are often limited in their use of transport by policies and services that are not gender-neutral and biased against them. Rich evidence shows that gender is a significant determinant for the choice of transport modes. Women’s travel patterns are more complex than those of men, with more, mostly short trips, using different services, at differing times of the day, often involving children. Thus, transport solutions that suit men - who tend to make few, direct trips at set times and often alone - do not necessarily work for female transport users.

Transport safety and security are also gender-specific issues. Safety concerns shape women’s transport behaviour across all transport modes more than men. Safety is the top priority for women as a condition for using public transport. Surveys show that a large majority of women worldwide feel unsafe in public transport and that many have been victims of some type of physical or verbal harassment when using it or moving in public spaces. Women therefore often prefer driving, where available, over walking, cycling or public transport due to safety reasons. When driving, women are far less likely to become victims of road crashes than men. Three times as many men as women die in road traffic; in some countries 80% of victims are male. This is the largest gender difference for deaths caused by unintentional injuries

In the transport workforce, women are dramatically underrepresented. Only 22% of transport employees in the European Union are female. In the Asia-Pacific region, women are typically found in fewer than 20% of transport jobs. Women are particularly rare in senior roles in the transport, logistics and infrastructure sectors. In the United States, for example, only 14% of these roles are filled by women. As a result gender perspectives are less likely to be considered in decision-making. To cope with projected shortages of qualified staff and to better respond to the specific needs of women as users, the transport sector will need to attract, retain and train women at all levels.

The gender dimension of transport is a rich field for scientific investigation and policy improvement. Addressing gender issues in transport will benefit not only women but all transport users, by encouraging a user-centric approach to provide high levels of accessibility. The ITF is strongly engaged in this issue, working with partners in governments, international organisations, academia and the private sector.

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