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Gender equality, climate change and transportation

Edited on

16 October 2020
Read time: 10 minutes

What is equality in transport and mobility? According to Christian Dymén, researcher and consultant at Trivector, it is the equal possibility to influence the planning process and the power to choose between different modes of transportation. However, this is not just a question about equality between men and women, if we do not change the current transport behavior, the emissions from the transport sector will continue to damage our environment. So, in addition to the question mentioned: How can mobility become more equal and at the same time, more sustainable?

gender equality climate change and transportation

By studying the mobility behavior of people in the Swedish society, research has found that women generally have more complex travel patterns than men, and at the same time, the car is used less by women as a means of transportation.

By looking at behavior, values, power and norms Christian and his team found that power, as in representation, does not guarantee gender equality. What needs to change for a real transformation towards equality as well as sustainability of the transport system are the social norms.

Today, transport policies in most Swedish municipalities is driven by norms such as technical masculinities and top-down approaches, leading to the solutions to most problems being searched for in technical infrastructure, which might not necessarily be the root of the problem. If these norms continue to be the motor of mobility planning, the transport patterns will remain the same, and even though people might drive more electrical vehicles, we will not be able to reduce the emissions necessary.

However, if we instead strive to introduce new gender equality norms into transportation planning, we could reduce emissions by 22 percent. This would mean to present small-scale solutions built on bottom-up mentality and over all less travelling by car. In fact, if men would travel as women already do today, emissions would be reduced by 18 percent. Finally, equal transportation also seems to be the best solution for more sustainability by encouraging behavior more equal to those without strong car habits.

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