Women work closer to home

Shomik  Mehndiratta and Tatiana Peralta Quiros from the World Bank write about Buenos Aires:
“[M]en and women’s average commuting times may be roughly the same, but men actually travel at significantly faster speeds and, as a consequence, cover larger distances. In general, trips made by women, particularly women with children were made at significantly lower travel speeds. (see table below: women with children, for instance, travel an average distance of 7.92km at an average speed of 9.98km/hr, as opposed to an average distance of 9.96km for men with children, which translates into a speed of 12.27km/hr).

Table 1
: Travel times, distances and speeds for work trips for men and women.
Work Trips. ENMODO 2009. Expanded Survey
Average Time (min) Average Distance (km) Average Speed (km/hr)
Women without Children 45.3 7.50 9.92
Men without Children 43.3 8.67 12.01
Women with Children 47.7 7.92 9.98
Men with Children 48.7 9.96 12.27

How can we explain those differences? Our hypothesis is that women’s travel choices are limited in part by household maintenance activities, which force them to rely on comparatively slower modes: the survey finds that women walk more than men and take buses, while men are using cars and trains more.

If women are indeed constrained to smaller commutes, it also means they have access to fewer employment opportunities – with inevitable consequences on their wage rates and related labor market outcomes. The map below highlights the stark contrast in job accessibility between men and women in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area: in parts of the city, men with children have access to over 80% more jobs than their female counterparts.”