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Paper short abstract:
This paper reflects on a three-year collaboration between young women, academics and NGO staff in an interdisciplinary action research study focused on improving women's access to safe travel and transport in the Cape Town city region.
Paper long abstract:
This paper reflects on a three-year collaboration between young women, academics and NGO staff in an interdisciplinary action research study focused on improving women's access to safe travel in the Cape Town city region.
Women are widely discriminated against with regard to access and use of transport in Cape Town, but for young female residents in low-income peripheral areas, the day to day travel related challenges are substantial. Threats to women's safety range from verbal harassment to serious forms of gender-based violence including robbery, kidnap and rape. Effective and reliable reporting mechanisms are largely absent, heightening the frequency and severity of these issues. Female users of public transport also prioritise concerns linked to road safety, vehicle condition and poor customer service including a lack of respect towards commuters. Women employed in the industry also face exposure to monumental levels of violence amongst rival minibus taxi associations.
The women's desk at the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) have collaborated with NGO partners, to engage with a wide group of transport stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors as well as groups women's rights organisations. The aim has been to support young women to play a more active role in influencing transport services in their city both as users and as workers in the minibus taxi sector, thus helping to address some of the transport challenges that so negatively impact on their lives. These pilot interventions present scalable solutions demonstrating the effectiveness of collaborative working amongst stakeholders from multiple sectors.
Building justice-oriented partnerships to support vulnerable groups in low-income urban peripheries