Mobility delayed is mobility denied: studying the impact of transport-poverty on women in Karachi

Authors: Sana Iqbal*, Coventry University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Gender, Urban Geography
Keywords: Gender, mobility, agency, transport studies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Tyler, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Karachi is considered the economic hub of Pakistan but ironically lacks a systematized public transport service, which is in the hands of private bus owners. Although the demand-supply gap in the transport sector and the generally poor quality of this deregulated service affects everyone, it wreaks havoc for women, manifesting in the form of transport-related social exclusion. This is because women are additionally marginalized as not only is their mobility restricted but also their access to life opportunities, particularly livelihood options, due to the lack of public transport. Men can benefit from an alternative, and sometimes cheaper private modes of transport such as motorbikes and cycles, which are socially discouraged for women, making them dependent on their male counterparts. There is little literature showing how women are deprived of their agency owing to gender disparity in transport provision as beside the prevalent transport-disadvantage. Hence. The aim of this paper is to study the different aspects of transport poverty on women in Karachi, taking it as a representative megacity in global South, and to assess their impact on women's life opportunities. To achieve this objective, the experiences of women while using public transport as well as of those who have stopped using it, have been analyzed and the barriers to their mobility are assessed, making use of a mixed methods approach. The paper concludes that augmented participation of women in the labor force of the country, necessitates freedom of movement and their needs are adequately reflected in the transport policies

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