International Women's Day also of interest in transport sector

published: 12-03-2019

Last Friday it was International Women's Day. A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action to accelerate gender equality. A call that certainly applies to the mostly by men dominated transport sector, if only because of its acute staff shortages. In consortium with Ecorys, ISI-Fraunhofer and PwC, Panteia investigated the benefits and measures to promote a more balanced workforce in the broad transport sector, including transport by road, rail, land and air. The result of this study has now been published.



Employment in transport is by far male dominated compared to the rest of the economy. The share of women working in the EU transport sector is only 22% while the share of women working in the entire European Union is 46%. In the last couple of years not much progress has been made in increasing the percentage of female employment in transport, despite prioritisation by multiple stakeholders in the industry and several actions taken by them such as; Women in Rail (WiR), Women employment in the Urban Public Transport Companies in Europe (WISE), and actions or measures taken by individual transport companies.


Despite a rich literature explaining the mechanisms and barriers that lead to this imbalance, there is less structured information available concerning the measures companies can implement to overcome these barriers. Besides, there are only anecdotal evidence highlighting the benefits of a more balanced working environment for employers and employees. This raises a key question: how to attract more women to the transport careers and, in particular, to the more technical professions of the sector?


To answer this question, a number of case studies were commissioned by DG MOVE of the European Commission with companies that are advanced in implementing policies and measures for equality between men and women in, among other things, their share in the workforce. These measures were also examined in terms of costs and benefits. Their transferability to smaller, not yet gender-balanced companies was also assessed.


The study has resulted in a report, as well as a presentation of the central advantages of attracting more women in the transport sector. Finally, a toolkit has been developed in which the possible measures and costs are bundled. This allows companies to define their route to work on a more balanced workforce and gender-sensitive policy. This toolkit can be found here under the heading 'list of measures'.

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