News & Events

March 2021

Managing Gender Equality in Transportation

As much of the world celebrates International Women’s Day and the progress that we are making in closing the gender gap, the information being presented to us on transport disappointingly paints a starkly different picture. Vectos’ Gender Equality expert Professor Laurie Pickup has been working with the World Bank and UN Women to bring these issues to light and find solutions through a first-of-its-kind course.

Taking a step back and looking at some recent research, the prevalence of poor behaviour towards women in the industry and the numerous barriers that cause female underrepresentation in the industry are undeniable.

The Gender Perception and Experiences Working in Transport 2021 report, which was released by Women in Transport to coincide with IWD 2021, found 69% of women felt the industry had a “macho culture” while 70% reported experiencing discriminatory behaviour or language, including sexist remarks or jokes, while at work. Optimistically, the report did find that more than 80% of the women surveyed are proud to work in the transport industry.

Looking at these alarming statistics, it is no wonder that while women make up 47% of the UK workforce, they remain underrepresented in the transport sector accounting for only 20% of workers.

The World Bank and UN Women course, Managing Gender Equality in Transportation, was also launched to coincide with IWD 2021 and is the first course of its kind. It examines the often-invisible gender issues surrounding employment and mobility in the transport sector.

Professor Laurie Pickup said he is excited to be part of such an important initiative for our industry.

“The course seeks to move away from gender-blind transport planning and looks at strategies we can use to address the difficulties women face in getting jobs and climbing the career ladder in transport, a sector dominated by a male workforce,” he said.

Professor Pickup is now calling for industry and government support to use COVID and the climate emergency as a turning point for female underrepresentation in the industry, alongside many other significant gender-related transport and mobility issues like accessibility, safety and security.

“Gender is still a relatively new consideration for planners and local authorities. Historically cities, public realm, streets and transportation have been designed by men, which through predisposition and experience intrinsically means that they also serve men above women,” he said.

“This is a defining moment for transport. COVID is providing us with opportunities to radically redesign public realm and to rethink the way we move around and work in the long-term. Likewise, the climate agenda can no longer be ignored with the Paris Agreement in full swing to be carbon neutral by 2050, and many of our local authorities setting even more ambitious targets of 2030.

“Moving forward it is essential that policy and planning strategy fully respect the gender dimensions.”