NAIROBI, December 2018 – A conference in Nairobi has called for concrete measures to make  public transport safer and more accessible for women.

“Together, we must increase the visibility of women in the male dominated field of public transportation to reflect a more equitable and sustainable public transport system for everyone”, said Naomi Mwaura, Founding Director of  Flone Initiative  a women-led organization charitable trust working to end violence against women and girls in public spaces in East Africa.

Building on the momentum created at the WomenMobilizeWomen Conference in Leipzig, Germany, the Eastern Africa Women in Transportation Conference brought together  around 250 researchers, representative of the public transport sector, female minibus drivers and conductors, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations and others involved in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

The conference aimed at developing concrete ways to create opportunities for women working in transportation in East African and safer public spaces for everyone. The conference facilitated the sharing of the most up-to-date research, case studies, and initiatives being developed for women and transportation regionally and globally; explored the challenges facing women commuters and actions to address safety concerns; and highlighted the experiences of women in transportation in the Eastern Africa region.

During the conference, UN-Habitat and the Flone Initiative jointly announced the development of the “Toolkit for gender-sensitive minibus services in African cities” to provide minimum guidelines to stakeholders in public transport, such as transport service providers, urban planners, city officials and civil society. The draft Toolkit will be launched in January 2019, and subsequently tested in Mombasa, Kampala and Dar es Salaam and elsewhere.

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat stated that “Transport systems that are safe for women, are safe for everyone.” She referred to Article 13 of the New Urban Agenda, where cities have committed to “promote age- and gender-responsive planning and investment for sustainable, safe and accessible urban mobility for all.”

The conference was supported by UN-Habitat, the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative, the International Transportation Workers Federation, the University of Nairobi, UN Environment, Stockholm Environmental Institute, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, among others.

UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif delivering remarks during the Eastern Africa Women in Transportation Conference (photo credit: Flone Initiative)

Participants at the Women in Transportation Conference, Nairobi,  (photo credit: Flone Initiative)