Women’s employment in public transport: time for change!

photo of the UITP workshop How to become an employer of choice

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Women currently account for only 17.5% of the workforce in EU urban public transport and hold less than 10% of technical and operational jobs. Gender diversity is slightly better in managerial positions  (23.8%) but with fewer women in higher positions, including on boards of directors. The proportion of women employed in the urban public transport remains relatively low.

The European Wise Project * reported in 2012 that strengthening women’s employment in the urban public transport sector is to the benefit of the whole sector and for employers and employees alike.

The project highlighted that:

  • More women means more talent integrated in the company, with a broader view on innovation; more additional and complementary skills like people-orientation or the communicative skills of women;
  • More women working in typical male-dominated sectors usually improves the working conditions for all: it contributes to a better working environment and sense of respect and thus an improvement of the attractiveness of the job;
  • Demographic change creates problems for employers and they cannot afford to do without women;
  • And last but not least, it is a matter of equal opportunities: more women in public transport contributes to enhancing the image of public transport companies and the sector.

The project produced guidelines for a friendlier working environment for women. Advice was offered on promoting the role of women in transport jobs focusing on training and recruitment opportunities and procedures.

It is the interest of both employers and employees to attract more women and retain them in the sector. Gender equity in urban public transport employment is a shared concern and responsibility.

Dispelling gender stereotyping and preconceived ideas

The UITP Workshop in Hannover on 27 March 2014 offers a unique platform for exchange on how to turn the public transport sector from a male-dominated environment to a more balanced structure offering benefits for the employers, employees and customers alike. As part of the attractiveness of public transport companies as employers, one of the main issues is how to reverse the trend and put an end to gender segregation in the urban public transport sector. 

Are you concerned by the lack of gender diversity in public transport? Click here to check the programme and register online.

* The two-year WISE project was part of the Work Programme of the European Social Dialogue and was funded under FP7. The project was a collaboration of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and brought together public transport stakeholders in EU Member States.

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