The Role of Social Media in Gender Mainstreaming for Climate and Policy Making: Urban Transportation in Semarang City

Policy Advice for Environment and Climate Change (PAKLIM)

The Indonesian Government committed to reduce their GHG emissions by 29% and by 41% with international assistance until 2030. The GIZ program Policy Advice for Environment and Climate Change (PAKLIM) supports the Indonesian Government to achieve this objective.

PAKLIM achieves its goals through a mix of capacity building, awareness raising, and technical assistance in the area of climate mitigation policy advice, climate education, and industrial estates for both National and sub national government.

Semarang City, Central Java is one of PAKLIM partner cities. The largest sector contributing to the city’s emissions is transportation. The increasing trend of using private vehicles leads to limited use of public transportation in Semarang City. Thereby, public transportation needs to get improved and more attention in order to encourage the shift of mode of transport from private vehicles towards public transport.

Gender Mainstreaming in Climate Mitigation Policy for Transportation Sector

Semarang City is committed to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector through improving public transportation and fuel shifting. However, its mitigation strategy in transportation sector has been established without consideration of the gender equality perspective. By examining the gender gap through a gender and urban transportation study, improvements in the urban transportation and climate policy can be achieved.

The relation between climate change, transportation and gender are mostly triggered by different social constructions between men and women. The information about connection of the climate change, transportation and gender in a reality on the ground is limited and publicly unknown. Thus, PAKLIM tries to further examine the relation between climate change, transportation and gender in the context of urban transportation by taking Semarang City as the case study. In order to reduce emissions in the transportation sector, the Semarang city government has launched a transportation policy, program and plan (PPP). The study then hopefully will reveal how and what is the implication of those PPP towards gender equality; and vice versa, if the city government integrate gender into transportation PPP, what will be the consequence for GHG emission reduction.

Gender and Urban Transportation Study: Case Study Semarang City

PAKLIM initiated the study on urban transportation using the lens of gender in Semarang City as a pilot research. This study aims to formulate gender sensitive policy advice for climate change mitigation in urban transportation by exploring the travel patterns, access, and participation of men and women in the transportation sector. The research was conducted by using the multistage random sampling with balance between men and women in order to receive equal information. The multistage random sampling methodology is applied by dividing the sub district of Semarang based on categories such as inner, suburb and outskirt.

To execute the gender and urban transportation study, PAKLIM collaborated with Diponegoro University students for conducting interviews and data inputs. The students were also trained in topics of climate change, transportation and the crosscutting issue gender. The reason is to give them more understanding about gender, climate change and urban transportation so that these students will perform well in fulfilling the given tasks. The main findings of the study are as follows (Budiarti and Nurhadi, 2014):

Travel pattern: Women and men have different travel patterns. According to travel pattern, women%u2019s preference for travelling implies more energy efficient consumption than men.

Public transportation: Women have a higher dependency on public transport than men, caused by women%u2019s limited transportation access (ownership and use).

Transportation modes and ownership: At household level, men have usually a dominant role in determining transportation mode, type and ownership of private vehicles compared women.

Condition of public transportation System: Both men and women claim the conditions of the public transportation system in Semarang is still poor.

Thus, from these findings, it can be concluded that the transportation PPP of Semarang City needs to be improved, especially in delivering gender equal services related to public transportation because women have less access to private vehicles and are more dependent on public transportation. Overall, the condition of public transportation is still poor and needs to get improvements (also regardless to gender equality).

The importance of mainstreaming gender within urban transportation has been communicated to relevant stakeholders in Semarang city, namely to the Transportation Agency, Planning Agency, and Management of Bus Rapid Transit Semarang City. Moreover, other stakeholders were informed too, explicitly academic forums, public transportation users forum, national and international forum namely climate change forum and connective cities forum. Those efforts have been initiated by PAKLIM, but are still not sufficient to raise significantly gender mainstreaming in urban transportation systems and policy. Thus, a different approach to gender mainstreaming needs to be explored.

Social Media for influencing gender mainstreaming at policy level: Meme Design Competition on Gender and Urban Transportation

Due to their highly interactive nature, social media has become a tool for social changes. Considering the high number of users and the opportunity of impact of social media, PAKLIM decided to use this approach for influencing policy in the transportation sector. In 2016, PAKLIM collaborated with the youth organization Koalisi Pejalan Kaki Kota Semarang (Coalition of Semarang Pedestrian/KPKS) that have more than 1700 young members. Together Gender and Urban Transportation Meme Design in Semarang City were organized. Meme is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the internet. In this competition, participants are required to upload an image macro meme (internet meme consisting of text and image) to the KPKS Facebook page. This competition was announced by using social media such as Facebook as well as, visual and electronic media. A total of 54 memes were uploaded and 10 nominees were chosen; the final winner of the competition was selected based on number of “likes” and “share”. The “like and share” method was effective to spread gender and transportation issues to netizens.


Example of the meme submission in the Meme Design Competition on Gender and Urban Transportation

The memes gave the actual information about the condition of public transportation in Semarang City because one of the requirements was that the picture was taken in or in relation to Semarang City public transportation. One of the examples is the meme above, it shows a woman wearing a blue blazer discouraged to take Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) after seeing that the BRT shelter does not provide construction to enable passenger to enter BRT safely. This moment captured the information that the design of BRT does not consider women, elderly and disabled people. Using and sharing the meme via social media, awareness about poor transportation conditions is increased.

The winner announcement of the Gender and Public transportation MEME design contest was conducted at a citywide event with gender and public discussions with keynote speakers related to public transportation, namely Semarang city House of Representatives, Management of BRT, and Semarang Planning Board. PAKLIM also took part in this public discussion for disseminating gender mainstreaming in urban transportation. This public discussion opens people’s understanding of the importance of gender mainstreaming and that it needs to be integrated in urban transportation planning, implementation and policy.