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Progressive Policy

Gender policy makes a difference to all

Why is this important?

Policies shape the spatiality and structure of the transport system and UK transport policy rarely includes reference to gender. If the policy is not in place to provide direction and attention, initiatives will ignore the unique needs of half of the population and will struggle to be democratic or achieve their full economic potential. Having gender equality included in strategic policy means that a gender perspective will be considered earlier in projects and with greater standing. Better policy targeting will create better delivery and gender equality in transport schemes. 

Drivers for change

  • Ensure policy makers are supported and informed to understand the importance of the inclusion of gender within policy. Without this understanding policy makers will have little need or rationale for making it a consideration within their work. Policy-makers need to integrate a gender perspective into their work from the outset but will struggle to do this without sufficient knowledge and understanding of gender issues in transport.

  • Conduct a policy review and identify areas where gender can be incorporated. Ask does the current transport policy being used explicitly take gender into account? Are there targets that are focused on gender? If not, could the benefits of a gender perspective be demonstrated and then included?

  • Avoid gender blind policy. When creating policy do not assume that the issue of focus is gender-neutral. Are the aims/objectives of the policy different for different genders?

  • Include, encourage and engage women when working on the formation of policy. Women bring different priorities and values that will help to create more holistic and effective policies. 

  • Use gender sensitive and gender-neutral language in policy.  Avoid word choices that may be interpreted as biased, discriminatory or demeaning by implying that one gender is the norm. See the European Parliaments guidance on gender-neutral language here.


The importance of gender mainstreaming 
'Identifying users of public services and their different expectations increases the chances for politicians and administration staff to really address people’s concerns.
It allows them to reconcile public services and projects with citizens’ needs, while raising planning accuracy, quality and success of services' - City of Vienna 

Case Studies: 


Sweden is arguably a global forerunner in terms of implementing gender mainstreaming. Since 1994 gender mainstreaming has been used by the Swedish Government to advance its national gender equality policy and this is still the case today. Further to this, in 2002, gender mainstreaming was identified as a key component of Swedish Transport Policy which states that:

“The transport system shall be designed so that it meets both men’s and women’s transport requirements. Women and men shall have the same opportunities to influence the construction, design and management of the transport system.”

Stockholm Sweden Panorama
Image by daniel plan

Vienna, Austria

Gender mainstreaming is a core component of Vienna’s planning strategy and has been included since the 1990s. The city uses a gendered perspective to provide equal access to the city’s resources. Policy makers recognise that men and women’s use of the city are different, with women more likely to travel by public transport or on foot. To respond to this, and to make it easier for them to do so, the city added additional lighting and widened footpaths throughout the city.

Click here to see the City of Vienna's gender mainstreaming objectives and their guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Urban Planning and Urban Development. 

Victoria, Australia - Gender Equality Act 2020

The Act commenced on 31 March 2021 to promote gender equality and states that when developing policies, programs and services that have a direct impact on the public, these must promote gender equality. The Act recognises that gender inequality may be compounded by other forms of discrimination that a person may experience to other characteristics, such as race or sexual orientation, and so these must also be considered when developing measures to promote gender equality.  

An objective of the Act is to 'support the identification and elimination of systemic causes of gender inequality in policy, programs and delivery of services in workplaces and communities'. 

Click here to find out more

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