Women’s mobility outside the home in Pakistan is restricted both by social norms and security concerns. In particular, social norms against women coming into close contact with unrelated men, and the discomfort, social stigma and threat of harassment when they do so, restricts women’s use of public transport. This restricts women’s choices to participate in the labor force, continue their education, and engage in other independent activities.
Public transport interventions targeted for women have been extremely successful in many contexts, such as the Delhi metro. Similar approaches have been tried on a very limited scale in Pakistan. Yet their impact on women’s mobility, labor force participation and empowerment has not been rigorously evaluated. If they are effective at improving outcomes for women, there may be a strong case for public subsidy of these programs going forward.
This project will use a randomized controlled trial of women’s-only transport and transport vouchers in Lahore, Pakistan to test rigorously whether a simple intervention can give women expanded choices.
The methodology will allow us to quantify the benefit of a reduction in cost, an improvement in safety and social acceptability, and the two combined, on women’s mobility, labor force participation, other activities outside the home, and empowerment.
The results of this research will inform policy on how transport services can best be designed, adapted and expanded to improve women’s mobility and empowerment.
The map below shows the frequency with which adult women made trips for work or study in different zones in Lahore district and parts of Sheikhupura and Kasur districts. This visualization is part of the GIS analysis that used data from the Household Integrated Survey conducted for the Lahore Urban Transport Master Plan 2012. It has been used to develop the sampling frame for a survey that assesses demand for a women’s-only transport service, and to plan and design routes for the said service
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