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Gender inequality on SA's roads: Very few women drive and why it matters

Only 21.8% of females possessed a driver’s licence in 2020, compared to 40.1% of males: Stats SA

21 December 2021 - 07:57 By TimesLIVE
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. Stock image.
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. Stock image.
Image: Gergely Zsolnai/123rf

Women in SA are far less likely to have a driver’s licence than men.

According to a gender report recently released by Stats SA, only 21.8% of females possessed a driver’s licence in 2020 compared to 40.1% of males.

The possession of a driver’s licence also showed gender and racial disparities. Black Africans lagged behind all other population groups, with females from this population group recording the lowest percentage (13.4% in 2020) when compared to females from other population groups.

“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,” said 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.”

Safe transport is also crucial for women’s access to decent work, particularly if they depend on public transport and have to travel late at night, said the report.

“Gender-based violence risks increase for women travelling 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.”

In 2020, travel patterns to educational institutions for grade R to 12 pupils revealed that more than 70% of pupils in rural areas, both male and female, were more likely to walk all the way to school. However, females in urban areas were more likely than males to ride as a passenger in a car, take a taxi, or take the bus to school.

Travel patterns to postsecondary education and training institutions (PSET) showed that more than 47% of females took a taxi to these institutions. This was 12.5 percentage points higher than the 34.7% for their male counterparts.

Taxis were the most popular mode of transportation for females to get to places of employment. Females were also generally more likely to use buses than males.

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.

According to the report, the majority of workers drove cars (36%) or used taxis (28.6%). Women, however, are more likely to depend on public transport than men.

The percentage of males commuting as car drivers (41%) surpassed that of females by 11.8 percentage points in 2020. Taxis were the most popular mode of transportation for females to get to places of employment. Females were also generally more likely to use buses than males.

Day trips, defined as travelling away from one’s usual home and returning on the same day, but not including trips to educational facilities or work, declined from 60.5% in 2013 to 28.8% in 2020 — the Covid-19 pandemic year.

The reasons for taking trips differ between males and females. Women are more likely than males to take trips to religious/cultural/traditional facilities, go shopping, attend funerals, and travel to medical facilities. Men are more likely to have visited friends/family/ancestral home, attended sporting events, and travelled to look for work.

TimesLIVE


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