In an eye-opening presentation titled “Gender Specificity in Informal Transport,” Pauline Baudens addresses the often overlooked connection between gender, mobility, and informal transportation in the global South. As a PhD student and part of the Business Development team for Trufi Association, Pauline sheds light on how Gender Dynamics, Security and Fear, and that challenge conventional views on mobility. Baudens has delivered versions of this presentation in person at multiple conferences, including AUTONOMY Paris.
Gender Dynamics in Mobility
Pauline emphasizes the importance of recognizing gender-specific nuances in mobility patterns. Women’s responsibilities in childcare and elderly care lead to distinctive commuting behaviors, with women navigating shorter trips and frequent changes in their journeys.
Women in the global South often have “much smaller trajectories, shorter trips, and more frequent ones,” Baudens said. “If public transport is insufficient or not well adapted, then they are the ones suffering from those uncertainties and problems.”
Security and Fear – Perceptions and Reality
Fears of sexual harassment, kidnapping, and robbery, shape women’s mobility decisions. “There are big gaps between real actual security and the fear of being in an insecure area,” she said. “Because it can be that actually it’s just a feeling and not really real.”
Contrary to the common perception, statistically “men suffer much more from violence in the street than women,” she said “Maybe because women tend to go out less. And when they’re attacked, it’s more focused on sexual harassment.” While women are statistically more likely to experience violence at home.
Gender-Specific Challenges and Solutions
Baudens unveils how digitalization introduces both solutions and challenges. While digital apps offer convenience, they can also inadvertently contribute to surveillance and limit women’s mobility.
“We can observe the multiplication of applications solving challenges and also creating other ones all over the world,” she said. “You have digital ticket teams, micro-mobilities, and even in terms of safety, there is a huge multiplication of safety apps.” “It can also create, at least something I observe in the mobility of women, a kind of surveillance.”
A Call to Action
By acknowledging the multifaceted impact of gender on mobility and advocating for safety, creators of technology solutions (such as Trufi Association), transport planners, researchers, and others can focus on appropriate interventions, infrastructure, and planning for more inclusive transportation solutions.