A Press Note by CSC Empowerment and Inclusion ProgrammeThis is a developing story. The survey is still underway. It slowed down due to Covid2019.
Pakistan is one of the lowest ranked countries in terms of gender parity. This is especially evident when we focus on the ability of men and women within the same household to move freely. We observe that transport and safety constraints (like sparse public transport and unsafe streets) are heavier burdens on women than on men in Pakistan.
In partnership with researchers in political economics at Stanford University, we at CSC Empowerment and Inclusion Programme utilized a phone survey to assess how factors such as wait time at a destination, street safety and the need for permission from other members of the family restrict women’s movement in urban and peri-urban Lahore. With approximately 400 responses, we find that roughly 48% of women state that it is difficult for them to get around. In addition, over half (55%) of women report needing permission from their husbands or in-laws to visit nearby stores, whereas an even greater percentage (59%) need to seek permission for visiting their relatives.
We then collected information on how our clients rank different ways of getting around. When questioned about their preferred means of transportation, 36% of the women chose traveling with their husbands on a motorbike as the safest option, followed closely by traveling on a rickshaw (34%). Public transport appears to be a last resort for women within our sample, with only 14% preferring to travel by public buses and wagons. We also asked the respondents’ views of less conventional modes of transportation for women, inquiring whether they would allow women within their households to ride scooties—we find that roughly 66% of the women and 73% of men would allow them to do so.
This shows that men and women alike broadly agree that scooties are a viable mode of transport for women. Our survey also suggests that there is a latent demand for programs facilitating women’s access to their own personal transportation, like our own Scooty Loan program that assists low-income women in financing their scooties. We find it encouraging that there has been a shift in the mindset in Pakistan about what does and does not count as an “appropriate” means of transport for women, and our organization will continue to work to enhance women’s mobility and financial empowerment.
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