The exploratory project “Migrant Women Conquer the Bicycle (Migrad)” of the Austrian Institute of Advanced Studies, supported by the “Cycle Competence” member Radlobby, took a closer look at the topic of cycling mobility of migrant women. There are fewer women using bicycles among migrants from non-EU countries than among Austrians or women from other EU countries. The research projects looked into the why, the hurdles for using a bicycle and whether or not the target group was actually interested in cycling. The results of the research project “Migrad” show around two thirds of the 45 interviewed women from non-EU countries have not learned to cycle “at all” or “not properly”.
Headed by the sociologist Astrid Segert from the Austrian Institute of Advanced Studies (HIS) a well-diversified project team was established from members of Radlobby, Caritas Vienna and the health centre “Fem Süd”. The analysis of the talks with focus groups, several interviews, as well as participatory observation during the cycle trainings for women revealed migrant women from non-EU countries are more frequently facing hurdles in cycling. Those make it harder for them to learn to cycle or to continue to cycle once they are adults. Socio-economic and cultural factors are interwoven in this – for example when a family can only afford one bicycle and only male members of the family are allowed to use it.
On the one hand, the new living situation creates new chances for the women regarding cycling but on the other hand barriers within the family and ethnical communities remain.
To advance cycling among women from non-EU countries cycling trainings are essential but not enough. For sustainable success a multi-layer support is necessary based on the chances and hurdles identified in the project “Migrad”. It should contain both measures to increase awareness, as well as teach practical cycling competence. Further, a larger group of migrant women has to be addressed. This would also help to achieve statistically proven effects in the cycling mobility of migrant women.
The project was supported by the Austrian agency for promoting research, the “Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft” (FFG). The full research report can be downloaded HERE (in German)