conference / feminist mobility

Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating Remarkable Feminist Voices in Transport

On March 2nd, 2023, Women Mobilize Women (WMW), a project within the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) at GIZ, launched its annual Women in Transport publication titled Remarkable Feminist Voices in Transport. As a part of the launch event, Communications and Engagement Advisor and WMW Ambassador Melissa Bruntlett moderated an afternoon of inspiring speeches, panels, and of course, recognizing the remarkable women profiled in the publication with a copy of the printed book and a certificate of recognition. Below is the opening introduction given by Melissa at the celebratory event. 

Welcome to our remarkable women from around the world. This event is opportunity to highlight some of your incredible work being done on a global scale to continue working towards realizing a feminist transport reimagining.  

Figure 1: Melissa during welcome speech 

I am proud to call myself a feminist, and use my life’s experiences as a woman, a daughter, a mother, a friend, to be a vocal advocate focused on inspiring more equitable mobility systems. Being a WMW Ambassador has married my passion for sustainable transport systems and feminism. Working with this passionate team and larger network has allowed me to expand my knowledge of the intersectional experiences of women from around the world, challenged me to think critically about how my perceptions may not reflect the diversity of the lives of others and has begun to redefine what being a feminist means to me. I have come to realize through working with and speaking to the vast network of WMW that this work is not just about mobility – it is about mobilizing change, and I need to be a part of that. 

In the years leading up to where we are now, we have watched as the situation of women and girls and their rights globally are under threat. Changes in abortion policies in the USA, the rights of LGBTQIA+ community in many countries threatened based on outdated views, and the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini for daring to challenge patriarchal regimes.  

While these events can feel overwhelming, despite the pain we see hope, through countless protests organized by women and other standing up and letting their voices be heard, who refuse to sit back and accept “their place”, perhaps best epitomized by the Iranian revolution spearheaded by the very young women under threat. 

Figure 2: Panel discussion featuring (from left to right) German State Secretary Bärbel Kofler, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, Albania Anuela Ristani, Deputy Senator for Mexico Laura Bellesteros Mancilla, Zoelka Mandela Foundation Founder Zoleka Mandela 

As an organization, WMW is focused on increasing the representation, rights, and recognition of women in transport and being and active participant in realising a more feminist vision of our future. Since its inception in 2018, this has included the annual Remarkable Women in Transport Publication – an opportunity to showcase some of the many women changing the way transport is formed, accessed, and proliferated, especially to the benefit of those who identify as women and girls. 

This year’s publication, as a celebration of 5 years of WMW, focuses on the women using their remarkable voices to further the feminist transport agenda on the ground. Tonight’s event is our opportunity to recognize those women for their incredible, ongoing work. 

For each of the profiles, we asked these women how they would define a feminist transport system, and while each answer was diverse, one theme rang through: A feminist transport system is one that ensures equal access for women and girls that is safe, meets their individual and varied needs, and is equitable distributed to everyone regardless of age, race, gender, or economic means. Thank you for the work you do! 

Figure 3: WMW Remarkable Feminist Voices in Transport after awards ceremony 

Download the PDF of the Remarkable Feminist Voices in Transport Publication HERE to see all the women and organizations profiled. 

As part of the launch, Melissa also helped coordinate a week-long study tour in Berlin for many of the women profiled in the publication. You can read her reflections on the week HERE. 

Melissa Bruntlett

‘I believe that to create cities that work for every one, you have to tell a great story. Promoting multi-modal transportation to a mainstream audience means sharing the stories of the people who benefit from making communities more walkable and bikeable, and showing what is possible if we rethink the way we design our streets and public spaces. I strive to inspire people to create places where children can flourish, and where the simple act of moving through their city is a safe, simple, and enjoyable act.’

Communications and Engagement Advisor