Women’s safety is focus of International Transport Forum
Women's Personal Security in Transport in Latin America was the focus of the FIA Foundation and CAF Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) at an official side event at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany.
The event also launched the summary of a toolkit for cities to help them make their public transport systems gender neutral. The toolkit was devised following the publication of the report ‘Ella se mueve segura’, funded by the FIA Foundation and CAF, which explored women’s personal security on public transport in three cities; Quito, Ecuador; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile.
Exploring the challenges and solutions to addressing women’s safety on public transport in Latin America, a high level panel of experts from Latin American cities discussed their challenges and the novel ways they are using best practice from across the world. The event was chaired by Angie Palacios, Gender and Transport Specialist, CAF- Development Bank for Latin America, and the speakers were: María Fernanda Pacheco, President of the Patronato San José Municipal Unit of the City of Quito, Equador; Juanjo Mendez, Secretary of Transportation of the City of Buenos Aires; Angela Beatriz Anzola de Toro, Women´s Secretariat of the Municipality of Bogotá, Colombia; and Sheila Watson, Deputy Director & Director of Environment and Research, the FIA Foundation.
During the standing room only event, Juanjo Mendez described how the findings of the ‘Ella se mueve segura’ report had already helped Buenos Aries review its public transport policies. He said of harassment “we knew it was an issue, but we never knew the scale”, and went on to say that the changes to make the city gender neutral “will benefit women, children and men. It’s universal.” Angela Beatriz Anzola de Toro, described the power technology and smart cities, as well as taking learnings from across the world. She described how the city had replicated a programme in India which monitored women’s movements on public transport to identify areas of risk.
Following the event, Sheila Watson commented: “The enthusiasm and passion of the event, which fitted with the International Transport Forum’s theme of security, shows that gender is finally being recognised as a crucial element of the transport world. Women are more likely to use public transport, and encourage their families to do so, but they are also more willing to seek alternatives if they do not feel safe. If we are to achieve safe, sustainable mobility that’s good for people, economies and the environment alike, then we need to start by making public transport gender neutral, for all our sakes.”
Sheila Watson was also a panellist on the ITF’s special ‘goldfish bowl;’ session on safe and secure transport for women, saying: “Our toolkit from the ‘Ella se mueva segura’ report shows that there are actions cities can, and are, taking. Building transport with a gender focus is a crucial for economic development, sustainable mobility and basic rights - a win-win-win for everyone”