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Mobility Justice, Phenomenology and Gender: A Case from Karachi

31 July 2019


Karachi is considered the economic hub of Pakistan, but it lacks a systematized public transport service. Although the demand-supply gap in the transport sector and the poor quality of this deregulated service affects everyone, it wreaks havoc for women, manifesting in the form of social exclusion. Men can benefit from alternative, (and sometimes cheaper) private modes of transport such as motorbikes, which are socially discouraged for women, making them dependent on their male counterparts. Despite the seriousness of this issue, there is little literature showing how women are differentially deprived of their agency due to gender disparity in society. To better understand this issue, the aim of this paper is to study the cultural foundations of transport poverty to assess their impact on women’s life opportunities. For this purpose, the experiences of women while using public transport have been analysed. The study has identified a variety of reasons why women curtail their mobility. It concludes that the social exclusion of women motivates a greater concern for their freedom of movement and that their needs be adequately reflected in transportation policies.


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