Exploring the Relationship Between Transport Accessibility and Empowerment of Women Living in Cairo’s Informal Settlements

Authors: Nour Gazarin*, UCL
Topics: Transportation Geography, Women, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Transport, Accessibility, Gender, Empowerment, Cairo,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:15 PM
Room: Tower Court B, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines how the accessibility of transport influences women’s spatial interaction with the city and resulting implications.

Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered through structured questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with 85 participants in two informal settlements in Cairo (Ard-El-Lewa and Manshiet Nasser). These explored travel patterns, the decision-making behind transport choices, individual experiences and transport needs, and perceptions of transport accessibility.

The findings highlight trends in women and men’s use of transport, their engagement with the city, and the reason behind their travel choices. Household decision-making and division of labour, access to and control of resources, and women’s feelings of safety in the street and on-board transport modes in particular will be shown to have a significant impact on women’s access to the city beyond the settlement, as they affect travel purpose and the temporal and geographical spread of women’s movements.

The findings also highlight how transport and land-use planning lead to the marginalisation of women, as issues of travel distance, safety, and cost can serve as impediments to accessing basic needs and empowering assets for women more than men. It is concluded that the resultant exclusion leads to the disempowerment of women by limiting their right to the city, to its networks and knowledge. It also leaves women in a vulnerable position whether through informal employment practices or through isolation from support. Conversely, increased knowledge and exposure to the city leads to an increased feeling of safety and ability to negotiate the city more independently and more confidently.

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