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Empowering Industry

"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made" - Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Why is this important?

It is crucial that the transport industry represents all of the needs of the people that it mobilises. To do this it must be inclusive and welcoming and women must be empowered at all stages of their career, from entry level positions through to retirement. They must be supported, encouraged and retained throughout. An industry that has gender parity is better equipped to understand different user experiences, is better at problem solving and ultimately will see greater economic, environmental and societal success.   


Drivers for Change

  • Raise awareness and promote transport careers in schools and youth groups. Empowering women and marginalised genders should start from an early age. Engage with STEM activities and include conversations demonstrating that transport is a multi-disciplinary industry and includes jobs centred around people, place and the environment. Highlight the breadth of the transport sector and the range of roles available to attract a range of talent.

  • Have inclusive and gender sensitive recruitment processes. Do not include gender bias language in job advertisements or during interviews. Have gender-balanced recruitment boards and decision making power distributed equally between genders. See the best practise example below on gender decoding.

  • Share your pronouns on your email signature and your LinkedIn. Using the correct personal pronouns helps to create a working environment where peoples identities can be acknowledged. By sharing you own pronouns this can encourage others to share theirs and help them to feel more comfortable. See this great article on the Importance of Pronouns at Work.

  • Implement rehiring programmes. Rehiring programmes help to encourage women looking to return to the industry after having taken a career break. See the best practice example below.

  • Help retain women in the industry. Provide flexible working arrangements that are well known, easily accessible and permitted for staff of all genders. Promote reporting and transparency on gender pay gaps to proactively overcome pay gaps and help to attract and retain women. 

  • Provide mentoring schemes. Mentoring gives the opportunity to provide direct guidance and support for career development, encouraging more women to progress into senior roles. This benefits both mentor and mentee and can be used to spotlight women in leadership roles. See the mentoring case study below.  

  • Collaborate and engage with women's groups in the industry. These can help to support, champion and empower women in their careers. See the examples below. 

  • Measure and report on progress made in achieving gender equality. Investigate how well the organisation meet's women's needs through quantitative and qualitative measures, including asking women about their experiences. Implement a workplace gender audit to formally capture and measure progress on the organisations gender equality status. See the best practice example below. 


Case Studies:

Mott MacDonald - Gender Decoding in Job Advertisements

The Transportation Division at Mott MacDonald have recently rolled out a joint initiative between their HR and Talent Acquisition teams. This is to ensure that all hiring managers and all those writing any job descriptions have undertaken a bespoke training module to overcome and understand gender balance in job adverts and in the interview process. This training explores different examples of gender bias and sets exercises for the individual to undertake.  Additionally, all job adverts are run through a gender decoder  to check whether they are using mainly masculine or feminine words. These job adverts are then revised and repositioned to ensure a more balanced advert is produced. Motts pushes for allies to be found across the business so that the conversation happens not just at interview but at promotion too.

Click here to try out the gender decoder.


Hands Typing

Victorian Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector - Workplace Gender Audit

The Victorian Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector oversee the implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020 which requires organisations to complete workplace gender audits every four years. This enables workplaces to understand where gender inequality persists and informs what actions need to be taken. Their online guidance explains how to complete a Workplace Gender Audit, with information on the data required, reporting templates and an employee experience survey that can be adapted.

Click here to find out more and access Workplace Gender Audit resources.


Jacobs - Bridge the Gap

The Bridge the Gap programme is aimed at aiding current working parents and those who were on, or planning to take, maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. The programme provides support to both the employees and their line managers to help deliver a smooth transition before they go on leave, as well as during their break and on their return.
A buddy system and parental forum have also been put in place, creating space for parents to share experiences and tips with each other.
Click here to find out more.


Women in Transport - 'Advance' Mentoring Scheme 

Women in Transport believe that mentoring is a powerful tool in supporting career progression. Their 'Advance' mentoring programme is specifically designed and structured to address the needs of professional women in transport seeking to develop and progress their career. The annual programme has supported nearly 200 mentees and mentors to date. It includes training for both mentors and mentees, a commitment from both parties to six sessions over a period of eight months and a toolkit to support the mentoring relationship.

Click here to find out more



Hear from Sonya Byers, CEO of Women in Transport

"The Advance programme is without a doubt one of my proudest professional accomplishments. We have seen women achieve their goals and objectives through being part of Advance. Sometimes that means more confidence, a new role in a different area, a promotion or even a board position with Women in Transport! It has been more popular and successful than we ever anticipated."


Image by krakenimages
Image by Tetiana SHYSHKINA

TramLab Toolkit 1: Toolkit for Gender-Sensitive Communication Campaigns

This Toolkit, which is one out of a set of four (see Inclusive Design Page and Disaggregated Data page), is the outcome of a joint research project by La Trobe University, Monash University XYX Lab and RMIT which seeks to improve the safety of women and girls on public transport.  This toolkit, which has drawn on research from a range of different studies and data sources, looks at how communication campaigns can be used to raise awareness around gender issues and public transport, promote community engagement and develop a responsible call to action. It presents an actions framework for gender-sensitive communication campaigns and a number of different examples.

Click here to view the toolkit.

TramLab Toolkit 4: Toolkit for Gender-Sensitive Training

The final toolkit in the collection is focused on training for all involved in public transport to help them to understand the issues faced. The toolkit presents an actions framework that can be used to develop and inform gender-sensitive training for different roles and levels across all public transport and transport-related organisations.
Click here to view the toolkit.

Click here to view the toolkit.

Korea Bus Stop
Image by Headway

Working as a STEM Ambassador - Laura Menéndez González

I first became an STEM ambassador in 2017 and I really wish I had started doing it earlier. I was initially attracted by the idea of being able to share snapshots of my work in the construction industry with students of all ages, and also being able to support them on useful skills such as mock interviews.

Most of the activities I do are targeted at women. I think it is specially relevant as there is a lack of understanding on what you actually do and I do think that if it was explained best, it would attract a wider range of individuals into the industry.

The age range is quite important too. It is not only important to target people close to finishing school, but also children that are in primary and secondary schools. Shaking pre-conceptions can never start soon enough. It is also about giving chance and opportunity. Perhaps someone had never considered a job in a STEM related activity purely because maths are not their greatest strength. Yes, maths are important, but so are many other skills and every job will require different levels of different skills. Someone should not be put off a STEM future just because of their perception of their abilities.


Anyone can be a STEM ambassador and all ambassadors do such an important work. The range of activities to get involved in is as wide as you can imagine, and there is always something suited to the ambassador’s skills.

I could not encourage it enough. The next generations are the future, and they will be the ones shaping and re-defining the world we live in. It is extremely important to raise awareness of the importance and the really wide range of things that someone in a STEM related career does, so the future can have a choice.

Click here to find out more about being a STEM ambassador. 


Further Resources 

Gender Perceptions & Experiences Working in Transport


This report produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport presents findings on women's experiences and perceptions of working in the transport sector. Unfortunately it found that '70% of the women surveyed said they had experienced discriminatory behaviour or language'. 

Click on the image to read the report which includes recommendations for the transport industry to take forward.


Professional Organisations Who Support and Champion Women in the Industry

Women in Transport

Women's Engineering Society

Women in Rail

Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter

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