7.8 Module H: Transport

A detailed case study of a transportation project with gender mainstreaming practices and results can be found in Case Study G from Peru.

7.8.1 Introduction

Transport is one of the key sectors for sustainable economic and social development. Efficient mobility of goods and people is what permits the development of markets for goods and labor that support economic growth, the development of social services, and social interactions. Each transport mode—pedestrian, roads, railways, waterways and ports, and air transport—is impacted differently by climate risks depending on geographic location, standards of construction, existing condition, maintenance capacity, and patterns of use. The impact of climate change on transport systems is likely to also affect women and men differently, as there are significant differences in their respective travel patterns, modes of transport, mobility, and safety.

In case of climatic disasters and extreme events, a functioning and efficient transport system determines people’s ability to cope with the event, evacuate the area if needed, receive emergency support (food, medical services, etc.), and therefore limit the number of deaths from the event. In transport, as in most infrastructure programs and projects, the key challenges are to find CCA solutions that will build up the resilience to climate change of the transport infrastructure and services. At the same time, resilience of the women and men using the transport infrastructure and services needs to be strengthened to meet their basic economic and social needs under increasingly risky climatic conditions.

7.8.2 Gender issues for transport

Gender dimensions of transport are evident when transport systems (infrastructure and services) are viewed as enabling the mobility of people and goods for different purposes.

Women and men have different travel patterns
. Women and men use transport to access markets and social services and fulfill their demand for leisure and social obligations. However, women’s transport decisions and mobility are determined by the complexity of their gender roles.

  • Women have to combine domestic (food purchase and cooking) and care-giving (taking children to school or health centers) tasks with employment and income-earning activities, and community and social obligations. Men’s mobility is determined largely by their income-earning responsibilities and leisure.
  • In rural areas, women’s travel patterns are also affected by their responsibility for water and fuel-wood collection.

Women and men use different transport modes.

  • In rural areas, most women lack access to motorized transport owing to cost, distance, and other factors. Instead, they predominantly walk or take slower non-motorized or intermediate modes of transport. Men, when they can afford it, use motorized transport and travel longer distances to access labor and goods markets. Women act themselves as freight transport for crops, water, and fuelwood, especially in the rural areas.
  • In urban areas, women rely more than men on public transport, and are therefore more affected by service reliability, scheduling, and affordability. Sexual harassment in public transport also deters women from using such modes.

Women and men experience different mobility and safety constraints
. Women’s mobility is largely affected by socio-cultural contexts, whereby traveling alone away from home without being accompanied by a male family member or an older woman may not be acceptable. Personal safety and sexual harassment are risks confronted more significantly by women than by men, both in rural and urban areas (public transport). By contrast, men are more prone to accidents and deaths from vehicular transport (roads, rail). In case of extreme events, violence against women increases sharply, in shelters and transport during evacuations.

Given gender differences and barriers, key questions for proposal writers of CCA projects in transport are:

  • To what extent and how women and men are affected differently by the impact of climate change on transport systems?
  • Can CCA projects effect greater gender equality and reduce the gender barriers that would prevent women and men to fully derive the economic and social benefits from the projects?

7.8.3 Gender and transport issues in the context of climate change

Women and men will be affected differently by the impacts of climate change manifestations on the physical transport structures depending on the transport mode they use most
. Overall, climate change increases the vulnerability of infrastructure, accelerates the deterioration of infrastructure assets, and increases the need and cost of maintenance. Women will be affected more by the deterioration of non-vehicular roads, whereas for men, it is likely to be the opposite.

For example, changes in temperatures and increased radiation damage the surface of roads and airport runways (melting asphalt, cracks, water infiltration);they cause significant stress on steel structures (bridges, rail tracks). Increased or decreased precipitation increases ground movement;affects the level of water tables;and accelerates the degradation of materials, structures, and foundations for roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, or ports.

  • Men will be more affected by likely disruptions or damage in such physical transport infrastructure as they make greater use of motorized transport than women, or are engaged in businesses that rely of such infrastructure.
  • By contrast, women’s mobility may be more affected by increased precipitations, sea levels, coastal winds, and increased variability and frequency of extreme events in coastal areas and lowlands which make pedestrian transport extremely difficult.

Women and men may be affected differently by the impact of climate change on the efficiency and operations of transport services
. Because they rely more on motorized transport, men are likely to suffer more from damaged surfaces, the increased cost of vehicular road and railway transport, and the increase risk of accidents. Likewise, men’s businesses and employment are likely to be more affected by increased rates of down-time of airports, waterways, and ports caused by high temperatures and winds and extreme events.

  • Women, especially rural women, are likely to be more affected by the increased vulnerability of pedestrian and intermediate transport means caused by high winds and precipitations and floods.
  • In urban areas, women will be more affected by interruptions in bus public transport, whereas men will be more affected by disruptions in railway operations.

7.8.4 Gender entry points for CCA transport projects

The relatively long design life of transport infrastructure means that the infrastructure designed today will need to be able to resist climatic pressures and extreme events 50 or 100 years from now. Gender-sensitive adaptation in transport infrastructure and services therefore implies finding short-term solutions to improve the resilience of the existing stock of infrastructure and configuration of services to respond to the needs of both women and men. Long-term gender-sensitive adaptation solutions are likely to only occur as structures reach the end of their design life. The challenge for proposal writers is therefore to ensure that a gender-sensitive vulnerability assessment of the existing transport system be undertaken and gender-sensitive adaptation solutions proposed. Examples of tools and gender-sensitive elements are discussed below.

Conducting gender-sensitive vulnerability assessments for transport systems.
The vulnerability assessments aim to identify the susceptibility of the transport infrastructure and services to fail as a result of various climate change manifestations, and on what time horizon.

  • An assessment of women’s and men’s travel patterns, including modal use, time spent on transport, and economic and social activities, will provide the basis for finding adaptation solutions which will equally benefit women and men.
  • A
    gender assessment
    needs to be part of the transport vulnerability assessment in order to generate sex-disaggregated socioeconomic data, including gender differences in education and access to information, incomes, employment, asset ownership, and access to credit and other financial mechanisms, and cultural norms on mobility. All of these elements are critically important to assess resilience and/or vulnerability of women and men to climate-related impacts on transport systems.

Planning and design of gender-sensitive land-use and transport infrastructure
. Land-use planning for the development or retrofitting of transport infrastructure is among the most important adaptation solutions. It is complex, and requires a thorough understanding of existing land ownership and use patterns. CCA solutions for infrastructure are likely to entail expropriations and resettlement in order to build or retrofit transport infrastructure, for example, to displace roads, airport, or rails away from coastal areas or redesign transport access to flood plains. Land-use planning needs to be carried out in a highly participatory manner, through consultative processes with both women and men, to ensure that women will be able to continue with their economic activities or be equally compensated in case of displacement.

Consulting with women and men on adaptation solutions
. Consultations on adaptation solutions are the opportunity to listen to women’s and men’s needs and priorities for transport services. For example:

  • Women may give priority to improving the weatherization of footpaths and pedestrian bridges, while men may give priority to improving the design of the motor-road.
  • Women may rank safety improvements on roads that permit access to community clinics or schools, while men may rank higher highway improvements connecting to more distant towns where they find employment.

Delivering information and training programs.
Information on climate change and CCA opportunities is critical to build women’s and men’s capacity to manage their travel patterns and modal use, and to have the ability to respond in case of extreme events (see Box 33). Personal evaluations of risk factors and perceived threats as well as social ties influence travel decisions. In the context of extreme events, personal decisions influence evacuation rates and successful survival: during evacuations, traffic is denser and slower than normal, compounded by overloaded vehicles. Women need to be as well informed as men, which is rarely the case, and information services and training programs need to be tailored in such a way that both women and men are reached.

Box 33. Targeting information and training to both women and men

In the case of the Bangladesh 1991 cyclone, warning information was transmitted from men to men in public places, meaning that women were not informed directly. In Peru, early warning messages about the arrival of El Niño were only transmitted to the fishermen, who were warned that fish abundance was going to be severely affected and that this could have serious economic implications. Women were not alerted since they were not directly involved in fishing; but in fact, they managed the household budgets. Had women known about the onset of El Niño, they might have saved more household funds and budgeted differently to prepare for the event, reducing the eventual economic impact.

UNISDR-UNDP-IUCN. 2009. Making disaster risk reduction gender-sensitive. UNISDR, UNDP and IUCN, Geneva.

Creating employment opportunities for both women and men in transport
. CCA projects in transport provide significant employment opportunities. Employment and increase in income are ways to build up the resilience to climate change of both women and men. Successful solutions are available from gender-sensitive transport projects. Skill training targeted at women is another solution to enable women to move up on the employment ladder and not remain confined to unskilled jobs.

  • In the post-war reconstruction effort in Liberia, special training was offered for women to become masons and carpenters, and work on road construction sites in drainage and culvert construction.
  • In Haiti, the Department of Public Works designed a dedicated training program for women to become heavy machinery operators.

Preparing project gender action plans
. A GAP is a useful tool to record such gender actions as employment targets and to monitor the results of ender focused actions (Box 34).[40]

GAPs also record the expected results by a definite date and the monitoring indicators.

Box 34. Gender targets are reflected in the GAP for the rural roads improvement
program in Cambodia

This US $67 million program aims to rehabilitate and weatherize over 500 km of rural roads between 2010 and 2015. The GAP prepared as part of the project proposal indicated that contractors had to reserve 40 percent of unskilled labor jobs for women, ensure equal pay for equal work and no child labor, delegate 50 percent of road maintenance and road safety activities for women, and involve women in tree planting and caring as part of the CCA technologies introduced to protect the rural roads.

Jain, A. 2011. “Gender and transport, Making rural road improvements in Cambodia; More gender-inclusive”. Presented at Africa Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Infrastructure Policies and Projects, 22-24 March 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTGENDER/Resources/workshop-032211-Day-1- AJain_RuralRoadsImprovement.pdf

Strengthening governance and capacity building
. This can be done through the following:

  • Developing adequate governance structures and building the capacity of all transport stakeholders for CCA and for the management of extreme events are most important (e.g., lack of coordination amongst transportation agencies, lack of general knowledge on the need to adapt infrastructure and services for climate change, lack of knowledge on the selection of appropriate adaption methods create inertia amongst transport stakeholders).
  • Increasing the number of women in transport policy and planning in relevant ministries and public bodies, and in transport operating companies is an effective way to have women contribute to the design and implementation of adaptation solutions that will meet the needs of both women and men.
  • Proposing quotas for women in governance structure and capacity-building programs is an effective way to capitalize on women’s management and planning competencies as well as making sure that their needs are heard. What women have achieved in the construction sector in India (see Box 35) could well be applied to the transport sector.

Box 35. Women lead earthquake-reconstruction efforts in India

In India, since the Latur Earthquake, women have been supervising, monitoring, and undertaking construction, encouraging repairs, and determining if engineers have certified the constructions. They participate in the construction of community buildings and model houses, and conduct education campaigns on earthquake-resistant technology.

UNISDR-UNDP-IUCN. 2009. Making disaster risk reduction gender-sensitive. UNISDR, UNDP and IUCN, Geneva.

Contracting gender specialists
. Transport agencies may need to contract gender specialist consultants to provide technical support to design and implement gender actions, and to monitor and report on results and impacts. It is important for executing agencies to assess the availability of local consultants, institutions, and NGOs.

7.8.5 Monitoring gender impacts

Examples of result areas for which specific monitoring indicators can be established are the following:

  • Overall mobility for women and men, year round
  • Travel time, in particular for women on their domestic and family care responsibilities
  • Access to markets, incomes, and employment opportunities for women, therefore increased resilience to climate change
  • Year-round access to health and education facilities by women and girls
  • Access to more efficient transport mode
  • Safety and security among mobile women and girls during travel
  • Violence against women during extreme events
  • Human losses from transportation bottlenecks during extreme events, in particular of women and children
  • Increased skills and decent jobs for women in the transport sector
  • Gender responsiveness of transport authorities and project management
  • Participation of women in governance and management structures in national and local governments, transport organizations, and at community level.

Examples of gender-sensitive intervention areas and monitoring and impact indicators are given in the Table 13.

TABLE 13. Illustrative gender indicators for transport CCA projects
Intervention Area Illustrative Indicators
Consultation inclusiveness No. and percentage of men and women, by social group, consulted about project plans

No. of information documents designed with gender-sensitive information

No. of gender-sensitive information and consultations sessions

Improving gender balance of staff, partners or clients/client groups Percentage of men and women for target group
Active participation No. and percentage of men and women, actively participating in consultations, workshops, and committee meetings
Leadership No. and percentage of women and men serving in leadership positions in transport policy, planning, design, and implementation groups

No. of women and men on community road committees, and in what position (member or leader)

No. of women elected officials (as a result of increased mobility)

Economic Status Women’s and men’s annual income from employment in transport activities

Women’s and men’s annual income from other economic activities

Gender-sensitive infrastructure design (e.g., non-vehicular paths) No. of women’s trips to health centers

Time spent on water and fuelwood chores

Time spent going to market

Nontraditional practices or roles adopted Employment in road and other transport infrastructure construction, operation and maintenance: examples of indicators:

  • No. of women and men employed, skilled and unskilled
  • Level of wage parity between women and men
  • Level of child labor
Women’s status changes by household or community Proxy measures related to relative roles, by sex, in household expenditure decisions or incorporation of women’s priorities into group or community plans
Time availability Changes in weekly trips to markets and other domestic responsibilities, by sex

Changes in income earned by sex over time

Changes in modal use, by sex over time

Service provided Percentage of men and women using various transport modes
Inclusive service provided Transport tariff adjustments for (poor) female-headed households
Client satisfaction Satisfaction level changes with:

Skill acquisition and training indicators:

  • No. of women and men in skills training sessions in road construction
  • No. of women and men in business training on non-transport productive activities

Health (from greater mobility and road safety). Indicators: Sex-disaggregated statistics on morbidity and mortality

Availability, reliability, safety, and affordability of climate resilient transport services. Indicators:

  • Increase in women’s usage of public transport, over time
  • Decrease in sexual harassment in public transport, over time
  • Increase in children’s ridership (and increase in school attendance), by sex over time
  • Decrease in downtime of transport services
  • Stabilization or decrease in transport costs due to infrastructure deterioration
Relative budget allocation for gender mainstreaming activities Percentage of budget spent of gender-focused activities compared to total budget
Adoption and level of implementation of gender strategies and plans Number and type of activities undertaken

Percentage of plan completed

Policy change Inclusion, protection and/or improvement in laws or regulations to provide safe and equitable access to transport sector employment and services to both women and men.

Box 36. Lists additional literature sources on gender, transportation, and climate.

Box 36. Further readings on gender, transport, and climate