WHAT IS LACKING IN COMMUTE FOR WOMEN?

For too long we've lived in a man's world. From thermostats in offices to modes of transport, every aspect of human life is designed around a man's needs. But do you know, that men and women have different travel patterns and needs from transportation? Gender affects every facet of our lives, and these differences occur in small ways in our day-to-activities. So what are the top 5 things that are lacking in commute for women?
 

Safety - A large number of the countless rapes that happen in our country take place in public transport. For many women that work in offices and return late in the night, commute is a huge problem, mostly because of lack of safety.


Women feel more unsafe in dark areas around bus stops & railway stations

Last mile connectivity - Last Mile connectivity refers to getting people from transport hubs to their doorstep. For example, covering the distance between your nearest bus stop and your home. This can be as little as 50m, but it makes a huge difference. Often women are forced to take taxis and autos for short distances and many times these are overpriced.


Women are forced to take cabs even for short distances

Affordability - Commute becomes more expensive for women because they have to pay for last mile connectivity. Moreover, when the cost of fuel goes up, it affects women more due to unequal earning and financial vulnerabilities. This is part of an overarching phenomenon called 'Pink Tax' which refers to women having to pay more for any product or service they consume.


Problematic Pink tax

Comfort - Urban design is unfortunately male-centric, and women's comfort is never on the agenda. From unhygienic, dimly lit toilets to non-functional streetlights, every part of the journey causes discomfort to women. While using public transport, women are more likely to travel with dependents - elders or children - and often have multiple pieces of baggage to carry. Additionally, buses and trains rarely have seats reserved for women that are actually used by women. Travelling can become even more traumatic for women with disabilities, pregnant or old women.


Pregnant, disabled and old women face more troubles on public transport

Punctuality - Most women are victims of a phenomenon called time poverty. This means that women run short of time due to gendered responsibilities thrust upon them. Moreover, due to trip chaining, women have to carry out countless care-related tasks once they leave their homes. In this scenario, waiting for buses and trains that never stick to their schedules in unsafe and uncomfortable conditions only serves to worsen their situation.


 

Looking at the larger picture, making transport more accessible will allow more number of women to step out of their homes, and participate in the economy. A report by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that India stands to boost its GDP by 0.7 trillion USD by adding millions of women to the workforce.

These factors need to be considered while planning public transport and while improving present infrastructure. Lack of mobility has restricted women from growing and living fuller lives for ages. It's high time we change that.

Do you know of more things women need from commute? What issues do you face as woman while travelling?
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