United Kingdom

The final stage of the project was a knowledge exchange trip to Coventry in which key findings were discussed and a plan developed for producing outputs.

The visit included:

  • Focus groups and interviews with female transport users
  • Tour of Coventry City Council transport department and walking tour around Coventry explaining transport innovations in the city, hosted by Sunil Budhdeo, Transport Innovation manager.
  • Empathy workshop run by Deana McDonagh, for more details go to the US page
  • Installation and drinks reception. Some of the resources developed for this event are downloadable from the top right hand side of the page
  • Cultural visits to Leamington Spa, Kenilworth Castle and Coventry transport museum


We identified that one solution will not fit all women and/or suit all cultures. There are macro and micro challenges that need to be addressed that need to be culturally based. What we are mindful of is that female mobility issues impact the individual deeply and their community.

One of the ideas which arose during the Uk visit was the need to provide better facilities for women who need to breast feed or express milk during international journeys.

One of the UK design outputs (developed by Nicola York) (see downladable file above right) aims to address the challenge of mothers who need to breast feed while traveling, through the design solution of a safe pod (space) for breast feeding (e.g. train, bus) / dedicated room near the public toilets, shopping malls that are dedicated for mother and babies.

This design has subsequently undergone further development and interested readers are free to contact Andree for more details.

Other design ideas put forward by the team can be found on the US page, with preliminary sketches provided by Deane McDonagh.

One of the original intentions was to try to work with women in Malaysia and Pakistan, to design solutions to current issues. This was difficult in the time frame. Instead we looked at ways in which stories could be illicited and material presented in ways more usable by designers. ie as:

  • Personas
  • System design maps
  • Infographics

And through pop up installations (see image below) to create informal,spaces in which women can share stories.

System design and lack of resources

Gender transport poverty in LMICs is a wicked problem. It can be overwhelming as there are so many factors that feed into it. There are no easy solution in countries such as Pakistan, where there is such gender inequality.

In our cocreation sessions, quick solutions were not discussed. Instead people focussed on institutional, social and cultural inequalities, which required buy in from wide sectors of the population e.g. to adopt gender mainstreaming, to enforce equality legislation and traffic regulations, to protect women from harassment in public spaces.

This led to a series of recommendations about the need for interagency co-operation

We had also wanted to explore the use of empathic modelling with senior representatives in transport in our LMICs. However, this was quickly dismissed as culturally inappropriate, as were plans to record the incidents of harassment or expose our team to situations in which they could be seen as challenging gender inequality.

So we were more limited in terms of design experimentation and pushing the boundaries than we had expected .

Discussions with the Pakistani team, relating to innovation and design , revealed that although people may be interested in participating in the research, the reality is that they have such limited resources (time, financial and energy), that they cannot participate. For many most of their time is occupied in employment and secondary employment to sustain their families. Some women would have to ask permission to even go out the house, let alone participate in discussions about gender equality.

We discussed the viability of recruiting large and successful employees to allow their employees to take time off each month, to work together on larger societal problems, such as transport and equality. For example, by coming together to make a street or area safe for women and children. (similar to tactical urbanism)

Fablab focus group

The venue for our focus group was Coventry’s Fab Lab, run by Sinead Ouillon and colleagues. The Fab Lab is based in the centre of Coventry. It runs community, codesign, learning and making events, as well as promoting citizen science.

Focus group attendees, many of whom were new to UK, shared what they liked best about Coventry transport services and any problems they might have experienced with it.

Exhibition at Coventry University

The exhibition was held in April 2019 in the Bugatti Building of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Coventry University. Senior management, members of the faculty and interested students were invited to attend an evening of food, drink and music from Malaysia and Pakistan, to talk the research team and look at the outputs.

Students from graphic design and illustration worked on the project during the preceding month to create a series of illustrations which represent the problems of women in Pakistan and Malaysia (see carousel below) and a pop-up installation. The illustrations were designed to be visual material which could be used in project documents . The pop-up installation and, how to handbook’ were designed to be replicable in Malaysia, Pakistan and other LMICs where women needed a quiet, informal place to talk about their experiences.

The pop up was designed in the form of a tent which could be constructed out of found materials, which could be used inside e.g. in foyers of buildings or classrooms, or at open air events. In the Coventry pop up 2 tents were constructed draped in country appropriate fabrics sourced from charity shops and car boot sales, and cushions, made by the PI. All of which could be repurposed after the event. Women would have such materials readily to hand, and little skill was needed in constructing the tents. Each tent was large enough to accommodate two women conducting a quiet conversation.

Fanzines (e.g. https://myria.com/what-is-a-fanzine-the-basics-of-these-diy-magazines) or story booklets/storyboard were designed for women to record their stories quickly in their own words or visuals, adopting a style popular with young people and activists. Completed stories were clipped to the inside of the tent on lights, to encourage sharing. These could provide organisers with documents to take to policy makers. Templates were also provided for these.

The graphic design students also created branding which was transferred on to hats, stickers and gym bags, posters and templates to construct paper models of tuktuks (for Pakistan) and minibuses (for Malaysia) as mementoes of the event

All of these are downloadable from the resources page or at the top of this page.

Other material included printouts of results and material from the work in Pakistan and Malaysia (available in urdu and malay), a folder of press releases documenting cases of harassment on public transport, and images taken by the project team which could be used to prompt discussion with the audience.

Illustrations by Coventry Students

Each student was briefed about the project and its findings and asked to create one illustration representing what it felt like to be a woman using public transport in Pakistan or Malaysia

  • What it felt to be subjected to the male gaze
  • Harassment coming from all directions on the street
  • Intrusion into personal space
  • Walking along polluted roads and being responsible for children
  • The amount of preplanning and organisation required to make a trip, the need to find time to make trips among all the daily chores, and ultimately being denied permission to go out