The web site contains the outputs and resources developed in the last stages of the project. Most of the work conducted in Pakistan, and during the first half of the project can be found using the ‘wemobile archive link’.

This site contains information about the work we conducted in Malaysia, as well as the resources developed by the team at Coventry University.

All material is free to use, although it would be nice if you told us how you used it, and what you found out by using it.

The main idea behind all our resources has been to make those responsible for transport planning and operation more aware of the difficulties women face every day. Without this understanding transport will continue to fail women, and will make their lives more difficult.

How can we get this conversation started?

It is difficult. Our work in Pakistan and Malaysia has shown just how difficult it is to get women to take part in surveys and to open up about their experiences – but we are really only starting to understand the complexity of this. Some of our results have already been published at conferences – see academic outputs below. We hope to produce more over the next year.

On this web site you will find personas, of the ages of women, for Pakistan , Malaysia and US. These are important communication /thinking aids for designers at the start of the design process. They are a visual representation/reminder of the people they should be considering in their design.

At the start of the project, despite a wide range of personas for men, there were fewer for women, and none for women in LMICs. A minor point perhaps, but we see this as being representative of the lack of consideration given to women in LMICS

Further down the page (look for small icons on right hand side of the page) you will also find a bibliography; visual material ; photos and illustrations to start conversations: and the organisers kit to develop a pop up informal space to have private conversations with women.

Academic Outputs

Faiz K., Woodcock A., McDonagh D., Faiz P., Nordin, N., Yong A. and Iqbal, S. 2019. Permeating the barriers between the individual and policy designers in Pakistan: applying systemic design to gender transport poverty. Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium , Turin, Italy.

Faiz K., Yong A., Woodcock A. and McDonagh, D. 2020 (Submitted) Ten Stages of Women: Challenges facing women in travel, Design for Global Challenges. Routledge.

Woodcock, A. 2019. Steps along the way to sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport. Key note presentation at Humane Cities Conference , Novi Sad, Serbia.

Woodcock A., Faiz, K., Yong A., Nordin N., McDonagh D. 2019. Gender transport poverty in low-middle income countries and its effects on women’s health and well-being, IPATH Conference , Melbourne, Australia.

Woodcock A., Faiz, K., Yong A., Nordin N., McDonagh D. and Faiz, P. 2019, A cross cultural study of women’s mobility in Pakistan and Malaysia, WiiT Conference . Irvine, USA.

Yong A., Nordin, N., Woodcock A., Faiz K. and McDonagh D. 2019 (Submitted). Permeating the barriers between the individual and policy designers in Pakistan: Applying systemic design to gender transport poverty Built Upon by Design

All publications are available on request from Andree at

Pakistan material

Most of the studies conducted in Pakistan are described in the papers (above) with visual records in the wemobile archive site.

Based on these results we developed the 10 stages of women in Pakistan, as shown below (and downloadable as a file (see right hand box). The ‘evidence’ for this can be found in the Pakistan page of the web site.


During the early stages of design, designers frequently use personas to represent typical end-users. Personas create reliable and realistic representations of key end-users. They are used as a method for enhancing engagement with users and form a foundation on which to start thinking about users (Grudin and Pruitt, 2003). They are constructed from discussions of the outcomes of qualitative research in which material is condensed into critical themes and characteristics, brainstormed, and outputs refined into rough personas with identifying characteristics (as described in Personas can engage design team members quickly when they must think about designing for populations dissimilar to themselves. So personas can be a way of summarising in a concise and ‘ user-friendly’ way information from ethnographic studies, which, although impactful and interesting, may not be of practical use in high pressured environments.

The 10 phases of women in LMICs, highlighting mobility changes and challenges over a typical lifespan. This construct is a generalisation; lives are complicated and impacted by social, cultural, political, and economic factors. In each age group, mobility, barriers, primary occupations, and roles differ. This table can be used by designers and planners as a starting point to develop their personas and discuss women’s mobility needs. The ‘ten phases of women’ (from the cradle to the grave) to contrast with ‘the seven ages of men’ (adapted from William Shakespeare’s ‘All the world is a stage’) commonly adopted to represent age-related changes in men graphically.

In contrast, images depicting ‘the seven ages of women’ are less frequent. Critically, culturally specific personas are also rare. Table 1 also extends the stages from 7 to 10, acknowledging changes to life span and additional impact factors in later life. This was developed from the data in Pakistan but was validated and checked against data gathered in Malaysia. This approach is essential because it provides a much needed, culturally specific representation of women in Pakistan, which was lacking when this research was initiated.

Women’s lives tend to be more holistic in terms of whom they care for (e.g., children, aging parents) and the need to blend a professional career with family life (referred to as the dual burden), physical and psychological changes leading to a more complex set of phases compared to typical men. The expansion from 7 to 10 phases acknowledges this complexity. The mobility pattern also differs for women belonging to different economic class and financial backgrounds.

The image shows female personas for Pakistan. This represents experiences of middle to upper-middle-class women annually (not more than two children) with an income of US$9000 and above. The stages divide into two main categories: (i) dependent and (ii) self-sustaining /self-reliant phases.

Systemic synthesis

To gain a more holistic view of the data, a systemic synthesis was applied to the results. This can be described as a way of “synthesiz[ing] separate findings into a coherent whole” (Gharajedaghi 89: 2011; Braun, 2002; Jones, 2014). It is especially useful for designers and those working on ‘wicked problems’ to uncover recurring patterns of behaviour (known as archetypes), which drive systems, and which may cause them to fail.

The system maps were developed using cluster mapping (Acaroglu, 2017) in which key elements, agents, actors, nodes, elements, and themes derived from the qualitative research are brain dumped on to large sheets of paper and connections/relationships are drawn between them. To exemplify the usefulness of this method for studying gender transport poverty, the ten stages of women example has been used to show the interconnections and linkages has been developed. The system maps were created using information from the literature review, participatory sessions, focus group, auto-ethnography, and in-person interviews. Anecdotal information from representatives from the private, public, governmental, and civic sectors helped connect the pieces of information coming from various perspectives and develop this organic visual representation.

A systemic causal loop diagram was constructed to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to gain an overview and shared understanding of the problem space and to see where interventions may be made and why current ones are not successful. The starting point was the identification of the 10 stages of women, and the dependent and independent phases of women’s lives (labelled (a) and (b). These are both connected to whether a woman can or cannot drive (labelled (c)). The more a woman is allowed to travel and experiences problems with transport, the more she will appreciate having her vehicle. Where this is not practicable owing to social taboos or lack of financial resources, her safe independence comes at a cost; she is forced to either continue to put herself at risk and suffer harassment, or to use ride-sharing or on-demand services with unregulated fares or depend on male family members. She is trapped in a circle of gender transport poverty where life chances slowly erode. She has to spend more effort in planning journeys, negotiating her mobility, paying more for transport, and being constantly vigilant on arduous journeys to and from employment. On top of this, she will also be responsible for household duties.

Other material you can download in this section

The icons at the top right of this section will let you download:

  • A version in urdu of the Coventry workshop
  • Personas for Pakistan
  • Presentation by Komal of her travel adventures during and after the project

Malaysian material

The documents you can download in this section were generated by the Malaysian team. They include:

  • An overview of the survey conducted in Malaysia
  • Personas for Malay Muslim Malaysians (comparable to the ones produced for Pakistan and US)
  • Pamphlet on barriers to women’s mobility in Malaysia

Early in the project the team in Malayisa also produced the persona infographics to accompany their work with focus groups and discussions with stakeholders. These illustrate different ways of presenting similar information in different countries