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.
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As the world changes with the rapid advancement of connected devices and technologies, so must the transportation industry. In a business area where change is sluggish, DOTs across the country must adapt quickly to the evolving technologies that are going to impact their operations and budget. There are at least three technologies that will have immense impact over the next two decades on how we travel and how state transportation departments react to provide mobility — connectedness, big data and automation.
Around the world, artwork of all forms adorns transportation centers, stations and bus shelters. While many of these statues, paintings, mosaics and sculptures are permanently installed as part of a station’s architecture, transportation organizations can use their spaces for art exhibitions that not only make transit hubs more aesthetically pleasing for commuters, but also inspire budding artists. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) recently partnered with two organizations to showcase the artistic talent of youth from the Greater Philadelphia region and around the world.