Two women discuss a project featured at the 2013 WTS Annual Conference in Philadelphia.
With President Obama’s recent bills regarding gender equality in the workplace, it’s hard to understand why gaps regarding pay, position, and opportunity for women still exist and why, in some industries such as transportation, gaps regarding position and opportunity are wider than in others.
Study after study has illustrated that employee performance is increased with programs that offer flexibility and recognition for women in the workplace. That company performance is increased as more women are included in the board room. That there is a direct link between economic performance and the advancement of women into senior positions.
To be fair — and here comes the conundrum — a great number of companies and agencies within both the transportation industry’s public and private sectors do in fact offer great programs and policies that have been in existence for some time.
As an example, HDR Engineering conducts an annual internal audit that includes minorities and women to verify employees are classified and compensated correctly and that there are no discrimination issues, and they’ve enhanced their flex-time and part-time programs to encourage recruitment and retention of women with children.
A WTS Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Transportation YOU meeting takes place at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
On the public sector side, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is also an example of an organization that supports the retention and advancement of women in the industry. The FTA has been a driving force in enabling small and disadvantaged businesses, as its leadership has been instrumental in making changes beneficial to small business and is taking an active role in providing opportunities and encouraging women to pursue transportation as a career path.
So the question remains: Why is the gap between the number of women and the number of men in professional positions in transportation so wide? What can be done to attract more women to the industry, retain them through their career cycle, and ultimately advance them to the boardroom where they can affect greater organization performance, and ultimately, benefit the economy?
Marcia Ferranto is President/CEO of WTS International. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., WTS seeks to attract, retain and advance women in transportation.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Training bus documentation...focus on the facts."
The benefits of using public transit are many — environmentally friendly, less stressful than driving and no time wasted sitting in traffic, to name a few. For commuters in cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Montreal, there are even more advantages for using transit — discounts at local businesses for using bus/train/trolley passes.
Ask commuters who drive between Houston and Dallas almost every day and see what they have to say. They are known as “super commuters” – the nearly 50, 000 people traveling back and forth between the two cities at least once a week. That number will increase as the growth in Texas continues to climb. Super commuters and other drivers want another solution to Texas’ traffic-clogged highways. Enter the Texas Central high-speed rail project...
For many college engineering and architecture students, it’s probably a good bet that they have not given much consideration to careers in public transportation. Members of the SEPTA's Engineering, Maintenance and Construction Division have worked closely with Philadelphia-area university students to introduce them to job opportunities in the realm of mass transit.
When it comes to communicating that people have transportation options besides their own drive-alone cars, the transit industry is getting its lunch handed to it, and has been for decades. It must face that it’s a fringe player that wants to become mainstream. And it’s not getting any easier. While we hear so many great stories about options presented by bikeshare systems and technology and Uber, the fact remains that people are buying cars more than ever.
Winter Storm Jonas socked Philadelphia with 22.4 inches of snow in January. In some areas of the five-county SEPTA service region, snowfall totals were well over two feet. As a result of forecasted high winds, zero visibility and significant snow, SEPTA suspended service on all modes — with the exception of the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway-elevated lines, its two busiest routes — beginning at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23.