Women in South Africa are far less likely to have a driver’s licence than men, a new gender report from Statistics SA has revealed.
According to the report titled Gender Series Volume VIII: Gender patterns in Transport, 2013–2020, only 21.8% of women possessed a driver’s licence in 2020 compared to 40.1% of men.
The possession of a driver’s licence also showed gender and racial disparities.
“Black Africans lagged behind all other population groups, with women from this population group recording the lowest percentage (9.6% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2020) when compared to women from other population groups,” reads the report.
The report further shows that the use of public transport, particularly taxis, remains skewed toward black African and coloured population groups, with women reporting a slightly higher usage than men. However, women from white and Indian/Asian population groups were more likely to be car passengers or car drivers.
“Access to transport, whether public transport or private transport, is of significance to the rights and equality of women. Limited or inadequate access to transport may contribute to limiting the quality of life, access to learning, employment, cultural and leisure opportunities of women,” says Stats SA.
“Transport is critical to achieving social equity because it enables people to participate effectively in various life activities and avert potential exclusions, such as the inaccessibility of education to some learners due to a lack of a viable transportation system.”
Travel patterns to educational institutions
In 2020, travel patterns to educational institutions for Grade R to 12 revealed that more than 70% of pupils in rural areas, both men and women, were more likely to walk all the way to school. However, women in urban areas were more likely than men to ride as a passenger in a car, take a taxi, or take the bus to school.
In 2020, travel patterns to post-secondary education and training institutions (PSET) showed that more than 47% of females took a taxi these institutions. This was 12.5 percentage points higher than their male counterparts, who were at 34.7%. Walking all the way to the PSET institution was the second most popular mode of transport for both males and females, while taking the train was the least popular.
This, according to Stats SA, exposed women to gender-based violence and unwanted attention.
“Safe transport is crucial for women’s access to decent work, particularly if they depend on public transport and have to travel late at night. Gender-based violence risks increase for women traveling from all walks of life, including walking to and from boarding points, and waiting at public transportation boarding points or stations, such as bus, taxi, and train stations. Safety is a major concern that affects women and girls disproportionately. Women on public transportation may be susceptible to unwanted attention, sexual harassment and violence.”
“The sustainable development agenda’s goal 11 (Target 11.2) recognises the importance of having access to safe, accessible, and sustainable transportation systems that benefit everyone, and it also emphasises the need to improve road safety and expand public transportation, with special attention being given to the needs of vulnerable groups, including women.”