An interest in built environment and sustainable travel behaviour brought Yamini to the Netherlands and pursue a PhD in the same. After several years of researching ‘transit-oriented development’, Yamini found a new passion for ‘gendered mobility’. She found that even though this topic has been so well-researched, the people remain unaware about its consequences on their daily lives and choices. According to her, this missing link is the reason why so little has improved on ground. She now tries to create awareness on the same by transferring the knowledge from academic domain to public at large.
How does women’s mobility differ from men’s? How did the planning of our cities and its transportation networks come to overlook women’s travel patterns? Yamini discusses gender bias and its equity implications in this episode of Researching Transit.
“What we consider a gender-neutral approach, which is very well intentioned… has created a gender gap in our cities”
Yamini explains why equitable mobility is beneficial for the entire population and dispels the misconception that gender equality is at odds with economic development. In fact, Yamini argues, the opposite is true.
She adds that since Smart City technology is being hailed as a potential means of breaking down the urban mobility gender divide, she delved into the research to reconcile the promise of equity in smart cities with the reality. For now, she finds, that unconscious bias towards certain user types is apparent in the design of smart city technologies, thereby proving to be unequal and unequitable
Fortunately, there are simple ways by which, planners, women and men alike can influence more equitable planning. Yamini describes some of these. She outlines research to date that suggests development that makes public transport and active transport more accessible is also the kind of development that is more inclusive of women’s travel.
More information about Yamini and her work can be found on her website. She has also published content related to mobility, equity vs equality, transit-oriented development and gender on her blog. Learn more about this topic, including this featured post about the difference between equity and inequality.
Watch Yamini’s talk at TEDxAmsterdamWomen (themed “Bridging the gap”)
You can also read about the role of gender equity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals here:
- SDG 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”
- SDQ 10: “Reduce inequality within and among countries”
Some evidence on the gender bias in mobility systems:
- 1 – Bhattacharya, A. and Kopf, D. 2017, “For their own safety, Indian women are choosing o go to worse colleges than men“, Quartz India.
- 2 –Singh, YJ 2019, ‘Is smart mobility also gender-smart?’, Journal of Gender Studies, https://doi.orgDOI 10.1080/09589236.2019.1650728.
Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com