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PRESS RELEASE: Mainstreaming Gender from Ideas to Action: Experts, leaders, decision-makers deliberate on gender-inclusive mobility in Indian cities

Uddheshya provides a much-needed platform to facilitate conversations on promoting and catalyzing action on gender-inclusive mobility.

March 22, 2023, New Delhi: More than 50 gender experts, transport agencies, research organizations, civil society groups and other stakeholders convened on Wednesday to deliberate on policy frameworks for gender-inclusive mobility at ‘Uddheshya: Mainstreaming Gender from Ideas to Action’. The event was organized by World Resources Institute India (WRI India) under the Forum for Decarbonising Transport, a NITI Aayog-led platform created as part of the NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA), for enabling a more ambitious and inclusive transport decarbonization action. The conference was also supported by Safetipin, OMI Foundation and The Urban Catalysts.

The day-long event featured an opening plenary followed by a series of panel discussions covering themes around gender-inclusive mobility, including ensuring just transitions in the e-mobility sector, designing inclusive public infrastructure and financing the ecosystem for inclusive mobility. A photo exhibition titled ‘Moving in Her Shoes’ held on the sidelines of the event captured the diverse and often challenging experiences women face while traveling in Indian cities.

Speaking at the Plenary Session, G20 Sherpa Shri Amitabh Kant said, “Shaping inclusive and better urban forms requires cities to be built on the back of public transportation. Cities built around public transport are inclusive, equitable, and low-carbon. Almost 75-80% of women who travel in India, do so on two- or three-wheelers and soon we will see that 100% of these vehicles across our cities will go fully electric. It is very important that women take to electric two-wheelers in a big way. We should also ensure that in areas where there are educational institutions and hostels we are able to encourage startups to provide last mile solutions.”

D. Thara, Additional Secretary, MoHUA, emphasized the importance of creating gender-sensitive policies and inclusive transport systems in Indian cities, stating that "For women, safety is just as critical as getting to the destination. We need not have exclusive women special transport, we need safer and better access to public transport and cycling spaces. Promotion of cycling and creating mobility options that also cater to older women is equally important.”

Philipp Ackermann, German Ambassador to India and Bhutan said, “The Indo-German partnership for greener sustainable development is a very important factor in our work. We are training women as rickshaw drivers as well as members of the transgender community. We are also teaching women cycling in Kochi. When you teach women cycling, their radius of movement increases and that makes a huge difference.”

Dr Vandana Kumar, Additional Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Govt of India said, "Energy transition is intrinsically linked to women-led development. Use of decentralized renewable energy livelihood applications such as driers, solar charkhas, chillers help and we need over 1.3 million such devices. This ecosystem is at a nascent stage, but to really improve the lives of our women, these applications need to be scaled up drastically.”

Madhav Pai, CEO (Interim), WRI India said, "Mobility is not just about transportation, it's about enabling access to opportunities and resources. Uddheshya is an attempt to create a national dialogue on inclusive mobility systems in our cities which can provide equitable access to opportunities for everyone, by recognizing the important work being undertaken already by various government and non-government organizations and identifying the areas where more efforts are urgently required.”

Sonal Shah, Founder, The Urban Catalysts, highlighted that transport can be decarbonized only if we measure gender, age and income differences in travel; recognize differential priorities, particularly of safety, affordability, reliability and accessibility for women and gender minorities. Centering gender in transport planning is therefore not about inclusion, but a necessity.

Aishwarya Raman, Executive Director, OMI Foundation, emphasized the importance of involving women in the planning and decision-making processes related to transport infrastructure, stating, "Women's needs and perspectives must be at the forefront of any planning process for transport infrastructure. It is only through their meaningful participation that we can truly achieve gender-inclusive mobility in Indian cities."

Empowerment of women is a central theme of India’s G20 Presidency, which aims to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation by 25% by 2025 and bring more than 100 million women into the labor force. While the central and state governments have been taking many steps to increase women’s participation in the workforce, there is an increasing need to understand how women navigate cities.

Media contacts:

Tanushree Venkatraman | WRI India
+91 9819761990

About NITI Aayog
NITI Aayog is a public policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve sustainable development goals with cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of state governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach. NITI Aayog is the anchor partner for the Forum for Decarbonising Transport in India as part of the NDC-Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA) project.

About IKI
The IKI is an important part of the German government's international climate finance commitment. The IKI supports approaches in developing and emerging countries to implement and ambitiously develop the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) anchored in the Paris Agreement. This includes measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to conserve and rebuild natural carbon sinks, taking into account environmental, economic and social concerns. The IKI also supports its partner countries in achieving the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The IKI is implemented by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection and the Federal Foreign Office.

The NDC-Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA) is a multi-partner initiative that is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) which works under the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action of the German Government. Being undertaken in three Asian countries- India, China and Vietnam, the NDC-TIA aims to support transport decarbonization across Asia. As a part of the NDC-TIA, NITI Aayog and WRI India have created the forum for Decarbonizing Transport to catalyze and sustain stakeholder engagements to support policymaking for more ambitious transport action.

About WRI India
WRI India, an independent charity legally registered as the India Resources Trust, provides objective information and practical proposals to foster environmentally sound and socially equitable development. Our work focuses on building sustainable and livable cities and working towards a low carbon economy. Through research, analysis, and recommendations, WRI India puts ideas into action to build transformative solutions to protect the earth, promote livelihoods, and enhance human well-being. We are inspired by and associated with World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization with more than 400 experts and other staff around the world.

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