Business Case: Transport

The transport sector drives economic growth and is a critical partner in tackling carbon emissions and climate change. While globally women are more reliant on public transport than men are, a more inclusively-designed sector could make it safer, more efficient, and user-friendly, boosting ridership, generating profits, and driving economic growth.
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The Gender in The Transport Sector Business Case presents the strategies for integrating a gender-balanced perspective in the transport sector workforce and leadership, ridership, and among community stakeholders impacted by transport projects.

Equitable Transport Keeps Communities Moving


Access to safe and accessible public transport is a key catalyst for increasing women’s labor force participation.

Ensuring that transportation systems work for women is critical to supporting their full economic and social engagement. Increasing women’s employment in the sector itself is a key starting point.

Gender-equitable transport workforces improve safety, community satisfaction, and overall ridership.

Increasing the talent pool by having more women candidates makes it more likely that candidates will be a good fit for transit companies.

Recognizing differences in women’s mobility patterns can help increase ridership.

Designing routes, schedules, and payment mechanisms with women’s constraints and preferences in mind leads to financial benefits for transport companies.

Including women in transport project planning and implementation improves project outcomes.

Companies can avoid shutdowns, protests, and money wasted on ineffective community development initiatives by considering women as distinct community stakeholders.

Strategies to address gender gaps

Transport companies should develop gender action plans that help recruit and retain women and ensure that their needs as service users are addressed.
Measure gender equality and connect it to tangible business benefits.
Increase women’s participation in roles throughout the sector.
Ensure that women’s needs as users are addressed through design features and contractual requirements.
Increase representation of women’s perspectives in community engagement and planning.
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Measure gender equality and connect it to tangible business benefits.
Increase women’s participation in roles throughout the sector.
Ensure that women’s needs as users are addressed through design features and contractual requirements.
Increase representation of women’s perspectives in community engagement and planning.
Maersk Group Aims to Increase Women’s Leadership
Maersk Group, a Danish shipping and logistics conglomerate, has adopted diversity and inclusion within the workforce as a business practice. While the gender breakdown is quite balanced within white-collar jobs, its management teams remain male dominated. To address this, Maersk has set targets for women in senior and executive leadership, manager roles, and board positions. The company also introduced a diversity dashboard in 2015 to help business units better track progress in meeting targets, as well as identify current and future challenges. Another measure is tailored training programs targeting women entering executive positions. Programs cover management topics and provide networking opportunities.
Chile’s Focus on Women Users
Recognizing that women both form a sizeable portion of users and have distinct travel patterns, the Transport Ministry in Chile adopted a gender equity policy to make public transportation more fair. Santiago piloted a model that integrates buses, subways, and commuter train fares in a single payment and permits use for more than one trip. This greatly benefits women, as it reduces costs from trip chaining and switching between different modes of transport. The city has designed safer night routes, installed emergency buttons, and deployed mobile apps to increase safety. Buses consider women’s accessibility preferences with wider seats and more space to increase ease of travel with children and elders. The policy also covers measures to increase women’s employment in the sector through training for drivers and gender quotas.
Uganda Transport Project Cancelled Following Sexual Abuse
In 2015, the World Bank cancelled a $265M roads project after serious allegations of sexual abuse and violence by contractors. The project to construct a 66km road in Kamwenge in Western Uganda failed to actively consider the safety and wellbeing of community members. In the construction phase, a large influx of temporary workers with little oversight led to many unplanned pregnancies and secondary school dropouts in the surrounding villages. A finding from an external report on the issue named insufficient community consultation as one of the issues during the project.
Technology to Increase Women’s Safety
Technology can be used as a tool to increase women’s safety in public transportation. The ride-hailing app Uber has integrated many features to increase women’s safety as drivers and riders, including an emergency button that alerts police and shares real-time GPS tracking, the ability to share trip details with family or friends, and anonymized contact information when connecting through the app. Safetipin, a mobile application developed in India, offers an option to conduct safety audits using map-based technology and collects information from users and trained auditors to assess perceptions of urban safety in public spaces. Information is collected on nine parameters including lighting, level of crowding or emptiness, availability of public transportation, footpaths, and more. It focuses particularly on last mile connectivity and the surroundings of metro stations, and since its implementation in Delhi has been used in cities such as Bogota, Manilla, and Mexico City.
Women as Active Community Stakeholders in Peru
A road project in Peru gave women the opportunity to express their transport needs in participatory workshops. Largely due to these consultations with women, 3,465 kilometers of non-motorized roads were refurbished, connecting previously isolated communities to markets and services and increasing the economic rate of return of the project. A gender impact assessment conducted found that 77% of women traveled more frequently and 65% felt they traveled more safely. It also showed that women’s participation increased project efficiency, transparency, and quality.