Women in the region have greater childcare responsibilities and do more unpaid work at home than their male partners. As a study we recently conducted in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires reveals, they also walk more and rely less on cars to move around the city. And they spend a larger share of their income traveling to potential jobs, while confronting greater security threats on public transport.
More inclusive transport and urban development policies are essential. Men and women, we found, move about and experience urban space differently, reflecting the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid work between genders and the double workload faced by women with children. For example, women make more trips than men each day—a gap that tends to increase with caregiving responsibilities. According to our study, more than half of the trips made by men are related to work, while for women that percentage drops to 31%, almost equal to the number of trips they take for caregiving purposes (29%).
Daily Mobility and Access to Jobs
These differences in commuting patterns both result from and contribute to lower labor participation rates for women, including more part time or hybrid work. An index we constructed of women’s potential access to the labor market in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area portrays this dynamic. The index takes into account the distribution of job opportunities, the distances to them, and the percentage of their income individuals would have to spend on public transport to get to jobs.
We identify clear gender, geographic and socioeconomic cleavages. Women, on average, have slightly lower job accessibility than men, at 65.1% vs. 68.7%. This gap is virtually non-existent in the wealthiest quintile, but it is quite large in the poorest one, with poorer women able to reach 50% of jobs, compared to 60% of poorer men.
This mobility gap, in turn, puts additional pressure on gender wage disparities, especially in the most vulnerable sectors, since women have to allocate a greater share of their income to pay for their commute to work. Read more…
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Florencia Caro Sachetti - Veronica Frisancho - Virginia Queijo von Heideken