New report: ‘Counting women so women count’ highlights importance of including gender in transport data

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88% of survey respondents supported modernisation of data collection methods.
88% of survey respondents supported modernisation of data collection methods.
Two thirds did not believe the data currently being collected supports a low carbon transport system by 2050.
Two thirds did not believe the data currently being collected supports a low carbon transport system by 2050.

Data is an essential driver to address inequality, sets out a new FIA Foundation working paper, ‘Counting women so women count: a rapid international review on the state of transport data and women,’ launched at the Flone Women in Transport Conference 2020.

Women represent just under 50% of the world’s adult population, yet the evidence base used to make most decisions about transport do not take their needs into account in a systematic way. Nor do women play a major role in shaping and framing transport developments or in its delivery on the ground because it has traditionally attracted more men than women as a career. Without targeted action to help to accelerate gender mainstreaming, the sector will fail to address key issues, and fall short in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on equity, equality and women’s empowerment.

The report analyses responses to a survey of 140 transport professionals. The survey captured the personal opinions of respondents as to how data is collected, whether that data takes account of gender differences, and whether it can deliver insights to develop transport solutions that fully recognise and respond to women’s needs. The majority of respondents were women, which means that this study is probably one of the first to present the collective opinions of female professionals active in the sector. Respondents were drawn from both high- and low-income countries, as well as from the many different aspects of transport in both the public and private sectors and were all active users of transport data.

Almost 65% felt that data collected was inadequate and needed to be significantly improved. A move to modernise and harmonise data collection was supported by 88% of respondents who felt that this would allow better comparisons between regions, countries and cities to highlight effective and replicable policies.

The report identifies a number of points with universal applications for aspects of transport:

  • ‘Business as usual’ is not an acceptable approach. Transport professionals widely agreed that that inclusive transport could not be achieved without reflecting gender needs more effectively in the data.

  • Data is not an end in itself, but it is one of the main tools that can be leveraged to inform decisions. Collecting better data on women’s needs is, however, the first step towards more inclusive transport systems.

  • Transport data is a public good which needs appropriate resources and investment.

  • Knowledge exchange in data collection and analysis are vital but underrated by those making decisions about transport investments and development.

  • Gender balance within the sector must be addressed at all levels, especially at the top.

These findings are a contribution to the growing evidence base in support of an increasingly compelling case for change. They also highlight areas for further work.

Read the full report here