Urban Studies Senior Seminar Papers

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Korn, Jana. "Riding Scared: Sexual Violence and Women’s Mobility on Public Transportation in Santiago, Chile." University of Pennsylvania, Urban Studies Program. 2018.


Past research has shown that the experience of a woman traveling in her city is dramatically different from that of a man in the same city. The relationship between a woman and urban public space has been well documented. Much less consideration, however, has been given to the experience of a woman in the space of public transportation, a space both of critical importance to the lives of women and a space often characterized by threats of violence. This study seeks to understand how the pervasive fear of sexual violence that women face while traveling affects both their travel habits and their urban life more generally. Using survey data from college-age women in Santiago, Chile, this paper argues that a threat of sexual violence limits a woman’s mobility, affecting the decisions that she makes about how and when to move throughout her city, with critical implications for gender equity. The paper concludes with a series of policy recommendations for the city of Santiago – interventions in infrastructure, the justice system, and public awareness, focused on expanding a woman’s safety and mobility, as part of a broader movement to build a more equitable and inclusive city.


women, fear, public transportation, sexual violence, mobility



Date Posted: 26 June 2018