Gender, Transport, Sustainability. Chinese Perspectives on a New Field of Research and Public Policy – University of Copenhagen

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08 August 2018

Gender, Transport, Sustainability. Chinese Perspectives on a New Field of Research and Public Policy

Associate Professor Hilda Rømer Christensen has contributed to the International Journal of Mining Science and Technology with the article 'Gender, Transport, Sustainability. Chinese Perspectives on a New Field of Research and Public Policy.'

The article addresses how in the 21st century, governments are being confronted with mounting and demanding challenges in connecting transport, sustainability, and accessible mobility for all. One area of critical importance for sustainable mobility is the issue of gender equality, a dimension which has so far been neglected and downplayed in research and policy-making in both China and the West.
Based on a critical inspection of dominant ideas in transport research, which have contributed to social inequality and unsustainable transport practices, it is argued that it is crucial to take the cultural dimensions into account, including gender as an analytical category, in order to provide more just and lower carbon modes of transport. The second part of the article explores transport and mobility in urban China from such perspectives and shows how gender and class are represented in various forms of mundane transport, such as private cars, biking, and public transit. Based on materials in Chinese newspapers and fieldwork in Beijing and Shanghai, it is shown how representations of transport and mobility in the Chinese media have been closely connected to new repertoires of masculinity and femininity. The study demonstrates that new forms of transport and practices tend to meet middle-class (male) affordances and to produce hierarchical dynamics of gender and class which might impede changes to more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. The article is concluded with a reflection on shared biking, which overnight has become immensely popular in Chinese cities and may provide a rather unique moment for promoting both sustainable transport and gender equality.

Hilda Rømer Christensen, Gender, Transport, Sustainability. Chinese Perspectives on a New Field of Research and Public Policy, International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, Issue 5, 2018.