Transportation and the gender bias
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Despite the significant progress women have made in almost all areas of public life, the issue of public transportation continues to be a sore point regarding gender equality. Women continue to feel unsafe in public and more needs to be done to change this. Women's fundamental right to freedom of movement continues to be compromised by harassment from men. For example, in Bogota, Colombia, ranked as the most dangerous city for a woman to take public transport in the world, six in every 10 women report physical harassment while travelling.
A report issued by Plan International captured the fear of violence felt by adolescent girls in developing cities of Kampala, Delhi and Lima. Gender inequality has many variations and requires many interventions to bring about change. There is an urgent need to include women in the discourse regarding public transportation.
Women are often left out of the decision-making process in many areas of development. Research shows that in Delhi, only 3.3 per cent of females reported always feeling safe while using public transport. While Jamaica was not included in this research, there are common themes for females worldwide.
Sadly, as a society we have developed and continue to nurture a culture of silence. This code of silence affects both sexes and facilitates the perpetuation of the verbal, sexual and physical harassment women experience daily on public transportation, in their private lives, and in public.
We need to work towards an inclusive public transportation policy in which the concerns of women are included in order to achieve sustainable development.
We will never attain sustainable development without first embracing a culture of gender equality.