Feminist Atlas


CartoFem is a research project that generates feminist cartographies with the aim of documenting and narrating the urban spatial experience of different groups of women in relation to different areas: mobility, security, housing, emotions and places, etc.

Documenting the urban experience of women is crucial to understanding the everyday barriers we face in accessing the city's goods, services, and places. Statistics show that eight out of ten women have been sexually harassed on public transportation at least once in their life in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. This harassment covers a wide range of violence: sexual comments, touching, insults, propositions of a sexual nature, physical attacks, humiliations and even rapes.

Fear and gender violence constitutes an expression of social exclusion, limits our access and enjoyment of public space, restricts our access to employment and education opportunities.

El miedo y la violencia de género constituye una expresión de exclusión social, limita nuestro acceso y goce del espacio público, restringe nuestro acceso a oportunidades de empleo y educación.

However, the limitations for women to move freely and occupy public spaces are not only about gender violence, but about the geography of the city itself. The urban pattern of growing the city through the development of large subdivisions far from central areas, isolated from formal jobs, services and public transport, makes it difficult for women to access formal services and the job market. This is because women in Guadalajara continue to be the main caregivers, they dedicate more time to household activities than men, and consequently have less time and more spatial limitations.

Therefore, CartoFem aims to show these everyday problems through feminist maps that portray the everyday experience of different women to inhabit and move across the city. The aim is for the maps to contribute to shedding light on solutions that transform cities into spaces that guarantee women's rights and that in a structural way allow for an equitable distribution of care tasks.

Public Transport

From October 2019 to February 2020, I accompanied ten women with different social and cultural backgrounds on their trajectories to go to work by public transport. In these trajectories, we talked about their daily experiences in public transport, which account for a series of structural dynamics of oppression in the city towards women in general.

The journey of A.N.

A.N. travels 36 kilometers accompanied by her son to get to her job. Her son has a neurological disability and A.N. has a back injury. She is constantly attacked in public transport for using the yellow seats (designated for people with disabilities) since for other people her son "does not seem having a disability”.

The journey of M.A.

M.A. gets up every day at 5:30 a.m., prepares food for her children and gets ready to go to work. She is 45 years old and works as a cook in Santa Tere neighborhood, in Guadalajara. She leaves her house at 6:40 a.m. and she walks 2 km to get to the bus stop closest to her home located in San Sebastianito, Tlaquepaque.

The journey of N.O.

N.O. travels 15 km from Monday to Friday to get to her job as a social worker. She is 24 years old and lives in Tesistán. Her work is located in Villas de Guadalupe in Zapopan. N.O. leaves her house at 6 a.m. and walks to the second stop closest to her home. In the first one, she does not feel safe waiting for the bus that she must take, since it is not illuminated and there is almost no presence of people.

The intersectional experience of the city

Since I was 15 years, I had very long trajectories by public transport in Guadalajara. I spent two or three hours every day traveling by bus, waiting at the bus stops, taking the light rail and walking through the streets. In those trajectories, I often witnessed sexual harassment and violence against women and I also experienced it in my own flesh. I recognized the spatial divisions and inequalities of the urban infrastructure in the different neighborhoods in which I moved, especially those differences as marked between East and West and center and periphery. At one point, I realized that my city experience was mediated by my body and my gender. My body had been constantly attacked (sexually) on the street for being a body of a woman; And it is through that body of woman that I have experienced the city. I have felt in my skin every unwanted touch and every stare I received on the bus. I feel the fear in my chest every time I must walk followed by a man on a dark and empty street.

The urban experience of R.O.

R.O. is 23 years old, she is a nutritionist and mother of a 2-years-old boy. She works in a program that offers playful-educational workshops to elementary school children. She lives in the eastern part of Guadalajara, in the Bethel neighborhood.

The urban experience of M.I.

M.I. is 30 years old, she is a social worker and mother of a 9-year-old boy. Her main paths around the city are to take her son to school and to shop around her house. She also mobilizes to go to work.

The urban experience of Z.I.

Z.I. lives in Tesistán Zapopan, she is 23 years old and works selling food, doing tattoos and in a catering service. She prefers jobs that are not permanent and that allow her to continue with her personal activities.

This project is part of the doctoral research carried out by Azucena Gollaz

International Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Contact information

The supervisory team is integrated by Professor Dr. Wendy Harcourt and Professor Dr. Karin Arts.
The webpage was developed with the support of the Civic Innovation Research Group of the International Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University
Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

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