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Factsheet. Key definitions and concepts around gender and inclusive mobility.
word cloud with gender, transport and mobility being the most representative ones
© Gail Jennings

Gender and mobility might be a new area of work for you, and this might mean new terminology and concepts. All the terms we use in this course can be interpreted and understood in different ways. So, for the purposes of this course, we are sharing our basic understanding of the terms, in the way in which we will be using them and understanding them in the course.

Sometimes this means using definitions other people have provided; sometimes these are our own working definitions; and sometimes we use definitions from sources and spend a little time showing how we interpret these definitions.

In all of our definitions, individuals are never truly separate from their environment and context. The ways in which we understand and navigate the world are shaped by our family, community, institutions, cultures and larger society. In other words, these terms are not abstract (though sometimes we can engage with them as if they are); they are very real, and influence who we are and how we behave. We are shaped by, and in turn shape these aspects of the world we live in.

It is useful to think about how you would use some of these definitions in relation to each other, although we usually need to present them separately.

Accessibility: Accessibility can be defined as ‘how well a transport network connects with activity patterns’ (Lucas, Tyler, and Christodoulou 2009). Accessibility can also be defined as how easy a location can be reached by, or to reach, different locations (SSATP 2016).

Care work: ‘Unpaid labour performed by adults for children or dependents, including labour related to household upkeep’ (De Madariaga and Roberts 2013).

Culture: Culture means simply the ‘way of life of a people or their design for a living’. A culture tends to be shared by all members of a group (‘Culture: Definition, Characteristics, Functions, Aspects’ n.d.).

Disability: The UN defines ‘persons with disability’ as including people ‘who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’ (‘Article 1 – Purpose United Nations Enable’ n.d., 1).

Diversity: People have different life experiences based on factors such as geographic origin, culture, class, race, gender, sexuality, language and ethnicity. Although in many places these differences are used as factors that oppress or privilege individuals and groups, difference does not mean one person is better or worse than another based on these (and other) factors.

Emerging markets: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) there is no official definition for this term, but it defines these in broad economic terms. The countries that this course refers to as emerging markets or economies are also referred to as the Global South. These are ‘countries [that] share a host of social, political and economic challenges’ (Mahali et al. 2018) and are struggling to meet the Sustainable Development Goals because of these challenges that include conflict, poverty and inequality, high child and infant mortality, and large numbers of displaced people living in slums. This definition also includes countries, and pockets within countries all over the world, where structural crises have led to limiting conditions for large populations.’ The descriptor ‘developing and emerging economies’ is becoming a more common alternative to ‘Global South’.

Feminism: ‘A movement to end sexism, and sexist exploitation and oppression’… (hooks 2000).

Gender: Gender is the term used to illustrate the different roles played by women and men and the characteristics of their expected behaviours due to cultural, historic, and socio-economic contexts that define their responsibilities, opportunities and constraints. Gender can go beyond biological differences (SUM4All 2019). Men who assume roles associated with women are included in this discussion on gender and mobility. GIZ, TUMI, and course developers also recognise the non-binary nature of gender.

Gender empowerment: Gender-empowering programmes build assets, capabilities, and opportunities for women and marginalised groups (OECD, n.d.).

Gender mainstreaming: Gender mainstreaming is ‘the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies, or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that women and men benefit equally, and inequity is not perpetuated. The goal is to achieve gender equality’ (ECOSOC 1997).

Gender norm: Gender norms are ideas about how women and men should be and act.

Gender transformative: Gender-transformative programmes address unequal power relations and seek institutional and societal change (OECD, n.d.).

Gender-sensitive or responsive: Gender-sensitive or responsive programmes are those that respond to the needs and interests of both women and men in their structures, operations, methods and work, and remove barriers to women fulfilling their potential (OECD, n.d.). If you are aware of how gender influences the opportunities of individuals in society, you are gender sensitive. If you actively address the causes of gender inequity, you are being gender responsive.

Gender disaggregated data: Gender-disaggregated data is data that is separated out by (typically binary) categories of female and male. For example, gender-disaggregated data means that if you were counting how many people used one specific transport service during a given time, you wouldn’t just do an overall count, but you would count the number of women and the number of men separately.

Global South: ‘Countries [that] share a host of social, political and economic challenges’ and are struggling to meet the Sustainable Development Goals because of these challenges which include conflict, poverty and inequity, high child and infant mortality, large numbers of displaced people living in slums and includes countries, and pockets within countries all over the world where structural crises have led to limiting conditions for large populations (Mahali et al., 2018). The descriptor ‘developing and emerging economies’ is becoming a more common alternative to ‘Global South’.

Inclusivity: ‘The act of not excluding any member of society in infrastructure or transport projects’. Inclusivity is the idea that all types of people, for whatever differences, must be included as much as possible in work and other institutions and must be assimilated (Ricee 2023).

Intersectionality: How some people experience compounded discrimination due to multiple marginalising and interlinked characteristics – in other words, discrimination and disadvantage based on multiple social identities (race, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, migratory status, disability status, location, religion, etc) (Crenshaw, 1989).

Marginalisation: ‘Marginalisation describes both a process, and a condition, that prevents individuals or groups from participation in social, economic and political life. People can be marginalised due to multiple factors; sexual orientation, gender, geography, ethnicity, religion, displacement, conflict or disability’ (DFID).

Minimum standards of inclusion: where programmes address the practical needs and vulnerabilities of women and marginalised groups (FCSA, 2021).

Mobility refers to a group of users’ ability or need to move, resulting in a demand for transport. The use of the term ‘mobility’ usually highlights the importance of people over infrastructure and vehicles. Transport infrastructure and services are supposed to answer to existing and future mobility needs (SSATP, 2018).

Mobility of Care refers to the daily travel associated with care work. As a concept it provides a framework for recognising, measuring, making visible, valuing and properly accounting for all the travel associated with those caring and home-related tasks needed by families. These daily tasks continue to be mostly performed by women, but as men increase their participation in care activities, gender approaches to transport planning will become more and more significant for individuals of both sexes (Sánchez de Madariaga, 2013).

Pink tax: A pink tax describes a good or service for which women typically pay more than men. Because women take more public transport trips per day, travel at off-peak times, pay for children, and sometimes need to use taxis or ride-hailing services due to safety concerns or lack of reliable transportation to the areas they need to travel to, their monthly transportation costs are higher, on average, than men’s.

Sexism: A system of inequity and oppression where men are privileged, and women are oppressed.

Sexual harassment: Any form of contact between people that involves unwanted sexually related contact – this can be verbal (unwanted sexual looks, winks, facial expressions or physical gestures, calls, messages, asking about sexual fantasies, comments amongst others); and physical (unwanted touches, groping, standing close or brushing up against a person, hugging, patting and potentially even sexual assault or rape).

Social exclusion: Social exclusion directly identifies the social consequences or outcomes of people having inadequate access to transport, and not having their mobility needs met (Lucas, 2012).

Time poverty means not having the time to do activities that are not directly related to income-generation. From a gender perspective, it refers particularly to the lack of time for leisure due to women’s role in paid and unpaid care work (Shah and Raman, 2019).

Transport refers to the supply system enabling people and goods to move or be moved within a defined area. A transport supply system typically includes infrastructure (fixed installations), vehicles, and operations; operations refer to the way in which infrastructure and vehicles are operated, as well as the enabling environment such as financing, legal frameworks and policies (SSATP, 2018).

Travel or transport inequity describes ‘unfair variations in travel behaviour between groups. These variations relate to distances and travel time, inability to meet the cost of transport, lack of access to transport, lack of safe and efficient transport options, difficulty reaching key locations to access opportunities or services, exclusion from transport modes or public places, and exposure to harmful aspects of the transport system such as crime, road traffic danger, pollution, and onerous levels of load-carrying (Foley et al., 2022).

Trip chain: ‘A combination of a number of short trips and multiple stops’. From a gender perspective, it often implies the combination of multiple care-related trips and/ or with work trips (Shah and Raman, 2019).

Vulnerability: The reduced ability of an individual or social group to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from shocks or stresses (FCSA, 2021).

Vulnerable groups: Social groups experiencing a higher risk of and exposure to poverty, social exclusion, violence or other hazards than the general population. As a result, their capacity to deal with risks and stresses is undermined (FCSA, 2021).


Article 1 – Purpose. United Nations Enable (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 6 April 2023).

Crenshaw, K. (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum [Preprint]. De Madariaga, B.S. and Roberts, M. (2013) Fair Shared Cities: The Impact of Gender Planning in Europe. Routledge.

ECOSOC (1997) United Nations Economic and Social Council. Available at: (Accessed: 29 April 2023).

FCSA (2021) Review of Local Trends in 4IR for Mobility: Future Cities Southern Africa. Foley, L. et al. (2022) ‘Socioeconomic and gendered inequities in travel behaviour in Africa: Mixed-method systematic review and meta-ethnography’, Social Science & Medicine, 292, p. 114545. Available at:

Hooks, bell (2000) Feminism is for Everybody. South End Press.

Lucas, K. (2012) ‘Transport and social exclusion: Where are we now?’, Transport Policy, 20, pp. 105–113. Available at:

Lucas, K., Tyler, S. and Christodoulou, G. (2009) ‘Assessing the “value” of new transport initiatives in deprived neighbourhoods in the UK’, Transport Policy, 16(3), pp. 115–122. Available at:

Mahali, A. et al. (2018) ‘Networks of Well-being in the Global South: A Critical Review of Current Scholarship’. Available at: (Accessed: 29 April 2023).

Ricee, S. (2023) ‘What is Inclusivity? [2023].. Diversity for Social Impact’. Available at: (Accessed: 6 April 2023). Shah, S. and Raman, A. (2019) What Do Women And Girls Want From Urban Mobility Systems? Ola Mobility Institute (OMI).

SSATP (2018) Policies for Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility in Urban Areas of Nigeria. Available at: (Accessed: 31 October 2020).

SUM4All (2019) ‘Global Roadmap of Action Toward Sustainable Mobility: Gender.’ Sustainable Mobility for All. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2020).

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An Introduction to Gender and Mobility in Emerging Economies

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