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April 15, 2019

‘Unsafe transport affecting women performance’


April 15, 2019

Islamabad : Unsafe public transport has become a main barrier for women to work confidently in educational activities and affecting the ability to engage in independent activities.

It was revealed in report published by Punjab Commission on Status of Women (PCSW) here on Tuesday, that women’s mobility outside the home is restricted by safety concerns by use of public transport.

According to the report many initiatives have been taken to improve women’s mobility but have been limited efforts to develop transport policies to address women’s transport needs.

It added women experience fear of harassment or crime while walking to bus or wagon stops and while traveling on vehicles.

Most males strongly discourage their family members from riding some modes of public transport because of harassment issues and social stigma associated to public transport.

Report further revelled that many reports were reported of harassment from male conductors, ticket checkers , drivers and passengers and some women actively reprimand any miss behaviour they encounter but remain stay silent and endure harassment or try to avoid it by changing their travel patterns.

Women living in peri-urban and rural areas face even greater challenges due to the limited availability of informal or formal public transport.

It said that 52 per cent of the women across Punjab don’t have access to public transport with lower accessibility in rural areas with percentage of 64 per cent.

Due to the transport barriers, in Punjab 63 per cent of surveyed 15-24 year old girls were not enrolled in school, it said.

Reports claimed that lack of women’s participation in training in formal sector is also due to barriers of transport as 98 per cent of women interviewed had never attended trainings as lack of transport.

Report suggested that carefully designed, feasible transport interventions can improve women’s ability to travel safely and expanding the public transport network with high quality mixed gender services with taking women’s needs into account in planning is needed.

It also asked for fixing and publicizing a schedule for all public transport services, train drivers, conductors, transport staff on gender sensitivity and sexual harassment. It suggested that there is a need to work with existing operators in peri-urban and rural areas to provide a reliable, low frequency public transport service on a well-publicized timetable.

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