Gendered Interactions Mediated by Design: Sexual Harassment on Public Transport

Kaygan, Pınar
Kaygan, Harun
Keysan, Asuman Özgür
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Design and Culture
This paper explores the gendered interactions that are mediated by designed products in actual use contexts. Our case is vehicle design for public transportation, a product category that is, from the outset, relatively gender-neutral when compared to explicitly gender-segregated categories such as household electronics, cars, and toys, even if public transit users are more often women than men. The empirical basis of research comes from interviews with women passengers. Our analysis demonstrates that seemingly gender-neutral designs can be merely gender-blind in that they have significant impact in the gendered experiences of its users, which includes, in this case, being exposed to or feeling at risk of sexual harassment and assault in public transportation as a woman. Therefore, feminist design interventions into mobility environments can provide immediate practical solutions that would complement policy and lawmaking efforts that are necessary to ensure safety for women on public transport.
Published by Design and Culture,, Assoc. Prof. Pınar Kaygan, Art Academy of Latvia, Latvia, Assoc. Prof. Harun Kaygan, University of Southern Denmark, Assoc. Prof. Asuman Özgür Keysan, Atılım University, Turkey.
Gender; design; public transport; script; mobility; women