Could women be disadvantaged by the gender commuter gap?

Research analysed by co-working-meets-creche start-up Cuckooz Nest reveals that women are far more likely to travel less than 15 minutes to work whilst the vast majority of long commutes are undertaken by men. The question is, does this disadvantage them in the work place?

Men travel longer distances to work, and women are the most likely to walk to work. Men account for 74% of those that cycle to work. Overall, men predominate journeys via train and tube and women occupy more bus and taxi seats.

Cuckooz Nest suggest that women opt to travel shorter distances and remain closer to home, which is reflective of a need or  instinct to stay closer to their children. This could be due to mothers still taking the lion (ess)’s share of parental responsibility for looking after the kids. Maternal instincts notwithstanding, there is surely an argument that fathers are able to enjoy more work freedom and indeed higher pay via the choice that they have in travelling wider distances.

This dynamic is surely something that will become less prevalent as roles equalise and inequality at home and in the work place subsides? The data from the Office of National Statistics does indicate that, at last, a rise in the number of longer commutes is led by women, up 39% since 2011. In London particularly, the number of women travelling for more than an hour to work is up 46% since 2011.

“Much debate on the gender pay gap has been had in recent times and this in itself is a fundamental problem of inequality that companies big and small must tackle. But our analysis of the ONS data relating to the ‘Gender Commute’ starts to indicate why there is such a disparity in the pay of men vs women in that if it’s left almost entirely to the responsibility of the mum to look after the logistics of childcare, no wonder such limits on the geography of workplace choice result in women getting the rough end of the pay scale” says Cuckooz Nest Co-Founder (and mum) Charlie Rosier.


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