Gender differences in the journey to work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is now well established in geographic research that women commute shorter distances to work than men. This paper attempts to explore the common features that have emerged from the last two decades of research in various places within a metropolitan context. Three main sets of factors that may cause women to commute shorter distances are recognized: Residence, employment, and transportation—each containing both social and spatial aspects. The analysis is centered around the spatial aspect. Most research on employed women seems to be characterized by distinguishing between the central city and the suburbs and thus the conclusions focus mostly upon this. An international comparison of different places shows that gender differences in commuting almost always are greater in the suburbs, from the point of view of both residential and employment dispersions. Directions for future research are suggested. Comparable methodologies will enable the inclusion of additional cities and will broaden the comparison. The examination of gender differences from the perspective of the dispersion of workplaces in metropolitan space should be further developed and analyzed according to a finer spatial scale than that used in looking at the central city vs. the suburbs. It also is suggested that factors of employment and residence should be analyzed differently so that qualitative methods may generate a greater significance for the factors associated with the domestic context. Finally, the investigation of gender differences in commuting and in the location of both residence and employment could lead to consideration of new conceptual frameworks for possible interaction between land used for both purposes within urban space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-245
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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