A study on gender equity in Greater Cairo’s public transport system
Until recently, transport planning operated under the assumption that women and men benefit from services equally. Reality, however, dictates a different experience for women and men. UN Habitat Egypt in partnership with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), UN Women, and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), undertook this study which included a series of surveys and focus group discussions with commuters in the city to develop a better understanding of the challenges women face while using the transport system. The results can help inform the transportation planning process, ensuring the inclusion of data-driven gender concerns in the service plan and infrastructure designs.
The studies point to a number of challenges faced by women, including irregular service, overcrowding, and constant risk of sexual harassment. Over 80% of women surveyed face harassment at some stage of their journey, including the walk to the stops, the wait for the vehicle, the boarding process, and the ride itself. Addressing the challenges faced by women will require joint efforts by multiple agencies that plan, design and manage the transport system. It must ensure that physical designs and operations are responsive to women’s needs, including those with disabilities.
It is also important to initiate campaigns to prevent harassment, inform women about available resources and set standards for women’s employment. Ongoing enforcement and complaint redressal should involve the police in partnership with front line staff. Through collective action, stakeholders in the transport system can ensure that transport services offer a secure environment that better allows for women’s mobility and access.