Por que las mujeres deben movilizarse por el Transporte Publico Masivo

Votar contra el transporte publico puede ahorrar a algunas personas algunos dolares de impuestos, pero lastimará mayormente a las mujeres de color.

Origen: Why Women Should Mobilize for Mass Transit – CityLab

 LAURA BLISS @mslaurabliss Jan 23, 2017

Protesters pour out of a D.C. metro station to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday. (Serkan Gurbuz/AP Photo)

En un vagón de metro lleno a reventar, los pasajeros cantaban canciones de protesta. Una mujer pasó alrededor de bolsitas de M&M’s de cacahuete para calmar a niños inquietos. Sombreros tejidos color de rosa modelo “coño” despertaron la risa entre los pasajeros que seguian chocando cabezas.

A pesar de trenes retrasados y esperas largas de una hora, una sensación de solidaridad y propósito llenó al Metro de Washington D.C. la mañana de la Marcha de las Mujeres sobre Washington. Un extraordinario numero de personas lo hizo tambien: Para las 11 a.m., el sistema registró 275.000 pasajeros, ocho veces más ocupacion que un sábado normal. Al final del día, el número de pasajeros pasó del millón, ligeramente abajo del récord de todos los tiempos establecido en la inauguración de Obama en 2009 (y casi el doble de la cuenta del viernes, en la inauguración del presidente Trump).

Sin embargo, la función esencial que el sistema sirvió ese día no fue notable. Al igual que los sistemas de tránsporte publico masivo de todo el país que ayudaron a transportar a los asistentes a los cientos de marchas hermanas locales, el Metro había movilizado mujeres en masa -tal como lo hacen los sistemas de transporte publico todos los días. En un día promedio, como 60 por ciento de los pasajeros viajando en trenes y autobuses en DC son mujeres. Esto no es inusual: Nueva York y Boston tienen porcentajes similares. En Chicago, el 62 por ciento de los pasajeros son mujeres; En Filadelfia, es el 64 por ciento. A nivel nacional, el 50,5 por ciento de las personas que viajan por transporte público son mujeres, a pesar de que las mujeres sólo son el 47 por ciento de la fuerza laboral.

These statistics should matter to anyone who cares about women’s rights. Larger female Estas estadísticas sdeben importarle a quien se preocupa por los derechos de las mujeres. Poblaciones femeninas más grandes en las ciudades no explican la división. Las mujeres constituyen una proporción desproporcionada de los trabajadores de salarios bajos y por hora en E.U.A., y en la mayoría de industrias ganan menos que los hombres. Esos salarios más bajos hacen a muchas mujeres usuarias “cautivas”  del transporte publico, incapaces de pagar un vehículo personal. En hogares con un solo vehículo, las mujeres suelen ser quienes renuncian el acceso al automóvil y permiten a sus parejas conducir a trabajos con mejores remuneraciones.

Las mujeres no solo representan mayor participación del pasaje en transporte publico, sino que también hacen más viajes en este: Como principales cuidadores en la mayoría de los hogares con niños en todo el país, las mujeres anotan en paradas extra a sus viajes para comprar, recoger niños de la guarderia o escuela, o llevarlos al médico.

Transit is even more critical for women of color, for whom the gender pay gap is even deeper. Compared with white women, they are also more likely to live in poverty—and are more likely to serve as their household’s primary breadwinner. A research project by Stanford University charted these numbers: As a percentage of all the trips (across modes) made in U.S. metro areas, roughly 7.2 percent of public transit trips are made by black women, compared to 5.8 for black men. Asian women make up 4.4 percent of all urban transit trips, versus 1.9 by Asian men. Latino women make up 3.8 percent, compared to 2.7 for Latino men.

Yet hundreds of thousands of no-car households live outside of transit’s reach—and millions of people who do live near bus stops and train stations still struggle to connect to well-paying jobs. This is especially true in the South, which is home to the nation’s highest share of women of color. Likewise, women of color disproportionately live in communities that lack access to critical health care—including reproductive health care. The schools that their kids attend often get less investment than those in whiter neighborhoods. They are also especially prone to the effects of a warming climate. The marches that brought millions to the streets called attention to all of these areas of vulnerability.

To close these gaps, high-quality, affordable buses and trains are a critical part of the equation. Mass transit connects women to better-paying jobs, educational opportunities, and health care; it reduces harmful emissions in neighborhoods already hard-hit by road and industrial pollution (areas that aredisproportionately neighborhoods of color). Using public transportation requires no license or identification and the price of admission is lower than any other form of transportation, especially when you add infrastructure for walking and biking into the mix.

Spending public dollars on these forms of connection pays off, for women and for everyone: The American Public Transportation Association estimates that every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns, and that every $1 billion invested bolsters and creates more than 50,000 jobs.

The benefits and liberation that transit offers many women are accompanied by a certain uneasiness. Gender- and race-based harassment is egregiously common on buses and trains. Undocumented women and Muslim women in particular are facing heightened stigma, scorn, and bodily risk in public settings, apparently as a result of President Trump’s racist campaign rhetoric. Shared spaces of any kind—including those contained by a moving car—must be entered with extra caution.

Yet very few transit agencies in the U.S. have tailored service to the specific needs of women, be they safety measures, route considerations, or even special seats for breastfeeding. And although voters in a few major cities voted to expand mass transit networks in November, the national trend in funding has been one of decline. The recession forced systems around the U.S. to eliminate routes, cut service hours, and ramp up fares. The insolvent Highway Trust Fund has already made federal transit subsidies increasingly scarce.

This is likely to get worse before it gets better. If President Trump’s first budget follows a Heritage Foundation roadmap for federal spending cuts, as the Hillreports it will, dramatic sums of annual federal support for transit could disappear—including $2.2 billion for major transit expansions, $510 million for community-centered transportation grants, and $153 million for the Washington, D.C., Metro, which is already grappling with a profound and dangerous budget crisis. We don’t know what Trump’s designated Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, will make of the DOT’s budget, but she worked with the Heritage Foundation for years. And the Trump campaign’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan—if it ever sees the light of day in Congress—would barely boost transit investments, let alone in communities that need them most.

Like the economy, climate change, immigration, and health care, public transportation is an issue that affects and belongs to women as much as (if not more than) anyone else. And it is ripe for a groundswell of intersectional feminist support: the kind of feminism that recognizes the divergent experiences of women of color—and queer women, trans women, Muslim women, women with disabilities, immigrant women—and fights for all, even when the stakes are lower for some.

After all, women may be over-represented in transit statistics, but most American women, and especially white women, still drive cars to get around. Thinking and voting selfishly when it comes to public transportation might save them some tax dollars, but it does an injustice to their neighbors. And it hurts everyone in the end, by worsening congestion, stifling economic growth, and stunting public health.

Failing to support public transportation will also hurt the next time 600,000 souls flood the National Mall to resist a president voted into office by denigrating women and threatening their rights. How many protest songs and peanut M&M’s will marchers need as they wait for a subway that’s virtually unfunded? And how many women of color will be shaking their heads?

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