PHOTO: courtesy of Popular resistance Organization

PHOTO: courtesy of Popular resistance Organization

Don’t just standby, Help!

Violence is an everyday occurrence, yet many keep on ignoring it and denying its existence. Lately the most common is happening in public spaces mainly against women and girls in urban and rural areas, in developed and developing countries.

Sadly, women and girls experience various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from unwanted sexual remarks and touching to rape. This occurs on the streets, in and around public transportation terminals, schools and workplaces, in public sanitation facilities, water and food distribution sites and parks.

The main victims of harassment in public spaces, in the street as well as on public transport, are young women. In Lima, 9 of every 10 women between 19 and 29 years of age has been victim to street harassment (2013). In Bogota and Mexico City, 6 out of every 10 women have experienced some sexual aggression on public transport (2014). In the case of Chile, 5 out of every 10 women between 20 and 29 years of age have declared to have experienced sexual harassment on the street (2015). This is according to Gender Equality Observatory.

It is important for every one of us to take up the role of ensuring that this statistics go down. Reducing the level of violence in society will require many more men to step up as active bystanders since most violence is committed by men, and men are more likely to listen to another man than they are to a woman. These two facts make it essential that more men get involved as active bystanders intervening to stop other men from being violent. It is also important to mobilize men with power, including government, community, and business leaders, as well as policy-makers, to think of themselves as active bystanders in the effort to end violence. Taking steps as an active bystander is often not easy, especially for men who are taking action to stop other men’s violence. It is important for men to identify ways they can support each other in their efforts to be more active bystanders.

Below are some actions we take to help stop the violence against our women and girls in public spaces.

Talk to the victim, ignore the attacker

Always engage the person in a conversation to help them feel safe and calm. Find out how they are. Hollaback says that “even a knowing look to the person being harassed can reduce their trauma and experience of isolation”.

Confront the harasser

Let the harasser know that what they are doing is wrong and you will not just stand by and do nothing.

Talk about something random

Talk to the person about a topic that will take their mind off what has just happened.

Keep building the safe space

Keep eye contact with them ignoring the attackers. Ignoring the attacker makes him feel less insignificant.

Keep the conversation going until the attacker leaves. If possible take them to a safe space

Your Support Counts!
Our new Women in Transportation program works to advance the transport industry and the professional women who are a growing part of it.
Good news! For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.
Try our new donation platform here!

 

Women like men have the right to feel safe and to live freely

Traditionally, transport industry is one of several sectors that have been regarded as ‘no place for women’. Today this is still the case in many countries across the world.

Nowadays, a few employers are becoming aware of the fact that they need the expertise and views women bring to their businesses. Sadly, most employers are still oblivious that in order to realize economic growth and social equity, businesses need both men and women involvement in decision making.

Globally, the transport industry holds great potential for women. Yes, it is an industry that is male dominated, but women bring a unique perspective to the issues facing a growing global transportation system. When women are given an equal opportunity to succeed in transportation careers they unlock new pathways for growth and profitability. Such an example is Elizabeth Marami who at only 27 years of age is the envy of many as Kenya’s first woman marine pilot.

Public transport service providers operating in today’s competitive environment can no longer afford to take no notice of women underutilized skills as employees. Integrating more women in all areas of transportation will make it easier to communicate the actual issues at hand and operators will achieve the competitive edge they seek over business rivals. Similarly, it is vital that all transport systems provide for the whole community thus operators can no longer afford to ignore the particular needs of their primary customers.

It is appropriate that women’s needs are acknowledged and considered within the overall structure of service delivery. It cannot be stressed sufficiently the importance of women, both as employees and customers of public transport. It is time for women to take the opportunity to put their views forward, to express their opinion and to make sure that they get what they want and need to make public transport better and more workable for everyone.

There are increased opportunities for women in the transport industry in operational transport, logistics and technological sectors thus the need to encourage them to join the industry. Most importantly, there is a need to make sure that women have a safe, fair and healthy working environment. This will be possible by addressing these important issues that limits women involvement in the industry. Such issues includes sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, challenges of balancing between family and work, long working hours, health and safety at work, poor facilities and informal and precarious work just to mention a few.According to International Labour Union (2013) report poor working conditions render the transport sector especially unappealing to women, most notably in relation to working time, shift-working (24/7), and the location of employment (e.g. on-board a vessel at sea, driving a truck long distances from home, or assignment to foreign airport under the multi-base crewing strategy of an international airline). The lack of attraction is reinforced by gender stereotypes – prejudices about what women can do and what men can do – that are perhaps most deeply embedded in male- dominates sectors such as transport.

Thus there is dire need to ensure that this trends change as soon as possible. In this regard, Flone initiative – a woman led organization working towards ending violence against women and girls in public spaces with a focus on the transport industry has initiated the Women in Transportation Program (WIT). WIT’s mission is to advance the transport industry and the professional women who are a growing part of it. WIT seeks to close the work force gap in the transportation industry by promoting life long careers in transportation for women. WIT ultimately works to attract, retain and advance women in the industry.

The WIT program will promote collaboration and coalition building among women professionals for policy advocacy and action, which will recognize and support women’s contribution in transportation development. Through the program Flone Initiative hopes to ensure that woman’s needs as both commuters and employees in the transport sector are secured.

Join us in making this a reality!

Your Support Counts!
Our new Women in Transportation program works to advance the transport industry and the professional women who are a growing part of it.
Good news! For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.
Try our new donation platform here!