Finding Mobility: Women Negotiating Fear and Violence in Mexico City’s Public Transit System


Graglia, Amy Dunckel. 2016. “Finding Mobility: Women Negotiating Fear and Violence in Mexico City’s Public Transit System.” Gender, Place & Culture 23 (5): 624–40. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2015.1034240.


Author: Amy Dunckel Graglia


Feminists have long known that a woman’s confidence, sense of possibility, aspirations, and personal growth depend on their ability to be mobile. Yet gender-based violence and sexual harassment against women commuters greatly limit those freedoms. How then should cities adapt in order increase women’s equal access to mobility? To address this question, this article looks at the case of Mexico City, investigating how women pursue mobility despite hostile and violent conditions that immobilize them. Based on women’s testimonies, comments made on online debate forums, and surveys among women commuters in Mexico City, this article maps the ways women cope with violence and harassment on public transportation. The analysis also pays particular attention to how women’s coping strategies are restructured through state interventions, including women-only transportation. The data reveals that gender-based violence in Mexico City’s public transportation limits women’s mobility and reinforces gender inequality. It also shows, however, that under the right circumstances women-only transportation can be used as a place to create a rights-based movement. The article concludes that Mexico City is an example where women-only transportation has played a role in changing the traditional gender norms which have reinforced violence against women commuters.

Keywords: gender-based violence, public transportation, public policy, coping strategies, gender inequality, women-only transportation

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2016

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