Safety in Public Spaces as a Barrier to Women’s Urban Mobility

Safety in Public Spaces as a Barrier to Women’s Urban Mobility

  5:30 - 7 p.m.
   Online (Off Campus)
Girija Borker

Women's mobility is severely restricted in many cities in developing countries. One major constraint affecting women’s physical and economic mobility is their safety in public spaces. I will present work from Delhi, India that studies the impact of perceived risk of street harassment on women’s human capital attainment. Using survey data on students from the University of Delhi, a mapping of potential travel routes to all colleges in the students’ choice set from Google Maps, and crowdsourced mobile application safety data I find that women choose a college in the bottom half of the quality distribution over a college in the top quintile in order to travel by a route that is perceived to be safer. I will also present results on other constraints in the setting of a unique policy in Delhi, India, that made public buses free for women citywide and added bus marshals on all buses. Using detailed panel survey data for a sample of women with low socio-economic status, I examine the effects of the citywide policy and a randomized experiment before the policy, where a free one-month bus pass to women was delivered to women. These results are consistent with large individual-level frictions in mobility behavior and that can be relaxed by a personalized intervention.

Girija Borker is an Economist and the Gender Program Coordinator in the Development Impact Evaluation unit at the World Bank. She is a development economist working primarily on gender, violence, and transport in urban areas. Her ongoing projects study the economic consequences of sexual harassment in public spaces and assess the effectiveness of potential solutions on women’s physical and economic mobility such as police patrolling, a reliable reporting system and access to subsidized public transit. Girija has a Masters in Economics from University of Cambridge, UK, an MPhil from Toulouse School of Economics, France and a PhD in Economics from Brown University.

This event will be livestreamed on the College of Environmental Design Vimeo Channel:

Presented by the Department of City and Regional Planning, Institute of Transportation Studies Berkeley, and Institute for South Asia Studies.

Girija Broker