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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article29 September 2022

New report on gender diversity in the transport sector

lack of gender diversity in its workforce and leadership is undermining the transport sector's net zero carbon targets, warns a new report by the International Transport Forum (ITF), supported by the FIA Foundation.

The study examines the linkages between gender equality, transport and climate change to better understand the development of policies that can achieve both gender equality and decarbonising transport goals by 2050.

Drawing on in-depth one-on-one interviews with individuals from four ITF member countries and two ITF Corporate Partnership Board members, the report provides guiding principles with specific actions to help countries and companies align their gender equality and decarbonising transport and identify examples of existing good practice. It looks both at how transport can accommodate women’s mobility needs and how the sector can (and must) improve its gender diversity.

Women make up only around 20% of the transport workforce in Europe, and an even lower proportion of its management. Closing this gap is a crucial step in meeting urban mobility ambitions while pursuing wider gender parity goals.

Young Tae Kim, ITF Secretary-General, stated: "We cannot address climate change without decarbonising transport. And we cannot make our mobility sustainable without addressing the gender imbalance in how we design and use transport.” 

The report identified that a consistent approach to incorporating a gender dimension into decarbonising transport policies for users and improving the gender balance in the transport workforce would have a significant impact. It sets out four groups of 'guiding principles':

  1. Capacity building, knowledge management and communication.
  2. Gender balance, participation and women's leadership.
  3. Implementation.
  4. Monitoring and reporting.

Specific actions accompany each principle for countries and companies to improve gender equality and decarbonising transport measures simultaneously. The mobility sector is at a crucial juncture.

COVID-19 and subsequent disruption to mobility sectors produced much-needed workplace flexibility; yet, resulting domestic/workplace pressures had an overwhelming impact on women, with one in four women considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers versus one in five men, with women’s jobs found to be almost twice as vulnerable to the pandemic as men’s jobs.

Progress toward gender parity has been made, but transport remains one of the most unequal sectors. We have much to gain from supporting women’s employment; achieving gender parity improvements by 2030 are estimated to add $13 trillion to global GDP, and war in Ukraine and carbon reduction goals mean the demand for leveraging ALL our human resources and capacity for innovation is acute than ever.

It is only then, can we begin to comprehensively address the gendered biases pervading transport planning and implementation. This is not to say all women’s mobility needs are the same. A student’s transport requirements differ from her mothers, or her grandmother; therefore, what suits one woman, may not be appropriate for another.

Nevertheless, safety and security fears, inflexible timetables which fail to cater for trip chaining and design features inhibiting childcare and other non-paid labour duties women often shoulder the majority of the responsibility for.

Cities are beginning to make progress here. From Madrid to Vienna, Lille to Lisbon, cities and regions have found new ways to improve understanding of female mobility patterns, ensure fair, convenient and safe access to services.

"The FIA Foundation is delighted to support this exciting new research with the International Transport Forum to consider the extent to which the vital process of transport decarbonisation and gender are interlinked,” Said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation.

This report highlights the clear message that unless there is meaningful gender representation throughout the transport sector, in employment, planning systems, and disaggregated data, then our transport systems will fail us all."

Download the full report here.



Publication date
29 September 2022
Policy and research