Gender, Inclusiveness and Transport Systems

Reporting from Habitat III, Quito

At the end of the first day at Habitat III Conference, we visited the National Assembly of Ecuador to listen to Lakshimi Puri and Saskia Sassen among other experts. The reasons we chose this event? Our interest on developing inclusive cities. The UN Women views on gender-based occupational segregation and their link with the persistent gaps in women’s income and involvement in decision-making was perfect for attracting members of our team.

One of the most important aspects mentioned during the session was related to transport; how fundamental it is to provide and guarantee a safe urban mobility system to ensure access to opportunities, services and goods. An inclusive mobility system guarantees that the city as a whole will be accessible for its residents, especially the most vulnerable groups. Considering gender differences in urban transport systems offers benefits for both the women and the systems themselves, such as increased return on investment for infrastructure and profitability of transport systems, improving women’s access to work, education and other services which can, ultimately, increase labor productivity and free up more time so women can address their personal and workplace needs.

Although transport is not the mere focus of I Am My City, it is an aspect that has always been popping up in our work. We believe that it is crucial to capitalize on the investments on transportation systems and use spaces connected to the transport network in order to create safe public spaces in the city. If we plan and design in advance, infrastructural works may open opportunities for creating additional public space, extending pedestrian streets and creating attractive areas for pedestrians, providing accessible small parks so that children and adults can enjoy them in walking distance from their homes, constructing bike paths, sports fields and recreational fountains and ponds, and introducing additional green areas in our cities, with trees and other vegetation.

Human flows in the stations of public transport system of a city can be used to develop social infrastructure facilities such as spaces for training and culture. The commercial dynamics approaches can accelerate the flow of upgrading transport network nodes and, in turn, promote use of public transport and space.