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Transport and Gender

Accessibility and transport choice

  • The most predominant mode of travel for women in rural areas remains walking and headloading. Women in Africa can transport at least three times more ton per kilometers per year than men.
  • In urban areas, women tend to rely more on public transportation than men. A recent review of Brazil's household expenditure survey for 2002-2003 showed that women used public buses, informal and intermediate modes of transport (such as taxis) more than men. The results showed that 65% of all women used public buses in the week compared to the survey compared to only 42% of men.
  • Men usually get access and priority for the use of cars/ private motorized modes of transport: a survey in Nigeria showed that the decision to acquire a car is made solely by the husband in nearly 60% of households; in rural areas, men are three times more likely to use a car than women.


  • Women have been found to spend a greater share of their disposable income on public transport than men. A study in Uganda showed that women spend as much as 29% of their income on public transport.
  • High transport prices can make services particularly prohibitive for women when it comes to reaching their workplaces and as a result women tend to work closer to home beyond a fixed cost threshold.

Access to education and health services

  • In Pakistan, about 28% of women in villages with road access had prenatal consultations compared to only 14% in villages without road access; While 58% of all births in villages with road access were assisted by skilled attendant compared with 39% for women without road access.
  • It is estimated that 75% of maternal deaths could be prevented through timely access to essential health care. Transport and road infrastructure play a key role in accessing that care. Yet, in many cases, considerable time is spent by women and their families waiting for transportation and emergency travel to reach a health facility often has to be undertaken on foot or by local forms of ‘non-motorized transport’.
  • School enrollment is higher in communities with paved roads and the percentage of children enrolled in schools declines the farther away the schools are.

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