Violence and women commuters in Mexico City

Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Year: 2022



Violence and women commuters in Mexico City

Anamaria Martinez-Ordonez



Urban mobility patterns reflect the social structure and culture, considering gender as an intersectional variable that determines modes of transport, travel schedules, and trip purposes. In this sense, gender has a direct impact on the access to urban services and opportunities by determining (in)capacity of movement and performativity constraints. Mexico City compounds a 20 million people metropolitan area, where public transport users are mostly women, and long-distance commuters face low-quality public transport services and a permanent perception of insecurity. From 2000 on, the local government has addressed care-mobility and gender-based violence in public spaces and public transport through specific policies and initiatives, although critical analyses are required to transcend gender stereotypes. The objective of this research is to understand how passer-by women perceive, imagine and react to aggression and violence in their everyday mobility experience. The methodology consists of a mixed-method approach, including ethnography with 15 women of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, interviews with public officers, and analysis with geographic information systems (GIS), all developed during 2021 despite the limitations of the covid-19 pandemic. Findings comprise discussions on ambiguous terms such as harassment, the cultural dimension of violence, prevention and resistance practices, and existing affirmative policies such as segregated women-only areas. Although violence emerges as a continuum in women’s commuting experience, there is a generational change in how to respond to it. Besides a lack of trust in institutional mechanisms, victimization-based policies tend to reproduce other manifestations of violence among women and discrimination towards minority groups.

keywords: affirmative policy, ethnography, gender, GIS, public transport.