Sexism and the City

In The News

By Ankita Rao

There are several reasons women might access transportation differently than men. For example, women have different transportation habits since many of them multitask between home and work, taking more short trips per day than men. Women are more likely to run errands than their husbands, and more women freelance than men—a lifestyle that can require erratic trips and workdays. And as long as women are paid less (80 cents to the dollar in the US, on average) they will need a system that fits a different budget.

“Ultimately, transportation is the fulcrum that allows women to participate in the workforce,” said Sonal Shah, a Delhi-based urban planner with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

The issue of access is compounded further by safety factors: Most women I know in New York have been in the horrifying position of sitting in a nearly empty train car with a lecherous guy staring into her eyes while touching himself. And train stations, parking lots and bus stops on dark, isolated street corners make it more difficult for women to go to work before rush hour, or stay late to finish a project—feeding into the vicious cycle of unequal compensation.

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