Bicycle Mystem for Gender Mainstreaming

October 3, 2018

“I think [bicycling] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

–Susan B. Anthony

I want to talk about the bicycle system in a city. During the last few years, bicycles and personal freedom have always seemed to go together.

A guy on a bike sanaa people - 20 - pimpmydrawing Model (1)-001

From my point of view, bicycle itself is a symbol of feminism. People like to define words as they see fit. Feminine could mean racing suit and feminine can also be dresses and heels, depending on the person. I think it can be useful for women and men to reclaim the obsolete assumptions of certain labels such as feminine and masculine. Women can look like any gender on a bike if they like to and feel no less powerful, even they dress a skirt on a high-framed road bike.

When it comes to the infrastructure of the bicycle system, many aspects are included and the lanes come first. Recent time-use surveys in Europe have found that women spend much more time than men do on tasks related to child care each day. Of course a lot of this type of work is done outside the home: taking a child to soccer practiceand running household errands. As a result, it is the women riders who bear the bulk of the “care” load.

The bicycle lanes in many cities have been planned to meet the needs of women. Additional lighting was added to make walking at night safer for women. Bicycle lanes were widened so rider could navigate narrow streets. And a massive staircase with a ramp running through the middle was installed near a major intersection to make crossing easier for people with strollers, in the wheels and on the bike.

And in Stockholm, a proposal to make snow plowing priorities better for women in 2014. The standard strategy is to cast their plows first on major thoroughfares, then on downtown areas close to major workplaces and construction sites, and finally to move on to smaller roads, neighborhoods, and schools. Some people claimed that the city is implicitly ignoring the places that “vulnerable groups,” including women and families, frequent most often. Now, they focus first on areas around day cares and schools — where parents stop in before work — before moving on to office districts and then main roads. The concept of this proposal is being sold as a sort of feminist proposal, but also as good overall public policy.

Gender mainstreaming has become a force that is literally reshaping the city.

 

Li Jiameng

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