Changing Women's Lives and Livelihoods: Motorcycle Taxis in Rural Liberia and Sierra Leone
Mokuw, Esther Yei
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In rural Liberia and Sierra Leone about half of motorcycle taxi passengers are female, with this proportion increasingon market days. However, all motorcycle taxi operators in rural areas are male. This study assessed if and howmotorcycle taxis have contributed to the livelihoods of rural women and whether there is appetite among them tobecome operators themselves. Data were gathered through male and female focus group discussions, roadside trafficcounts and operator and passenger surveys. The study was conducted in three districts in rural Sierra Leone and onerural county in Liberia. The Liberia field site was the location of a pioneering pilot project on upgrading footpaths tomotorcycle-accessible tracks. This project, funded by a German development agency, aimed to connect remote villagesto the feeder road network. Both men and women were involved in track construction and this study assessedwhether the women’s involvement made them more likely to take up commercial motorcycle riding. Women nearlyuniversally praised rural motorcycle taxis, indicating that they have made access to markets and (maternal) healthmuch easier. However, while many expressed the desire to become operators themselves, they identified a number ofbarriers, the most significant being lack of friends or business persons willing to rent motorcycles to female operators.
CitationJenkins, J.; Mokuwa, E.Y.; Peters, K. and Richards, P. (2020) Changing Women's Lives and Livelihoods: Motorcycle Taxis in Rural Liberia and Sierra Leone Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport 2020 173:2, 132-143
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