The Government and transport industry have been urged to challenge ‘macho behaviours’ in the workplace, as new research reveals the extent of the problem.
The research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport, revealed that two-thirds (69%) of women perceived the transport industry as having a ‘macho culture’ and 70% perceived the industry of having an ‘image problem’.
Of the 567 transport industry professionals surveyed, 70% said they had experienced discriminatory behaviour or language (including derogatory or sexist remarks, jokes or statements targeted at them).
The survey highlighted differences in women’s and men’s perceptions of gender issues while working in transport, with more women feeling they had experienced discriminatory behaviour than men feeling they had witnessed it.
Ruth Cadbury MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport, said: “I am shocked but not surprised at the research findings, as this is what we have been hearing anecdotally for many years.
“Our report provides a stark warning that we are not doing enough and unless we challenge what can be seen as macho culture, the transport sector will miss out on exceptional talent.
“I am hopeful this new research will ignite positive change for the industry and will make the transport sector a more diverse and an inclusive place to work.”
Four women from the fleet sector have been shortlisted for the Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award, which recognises an inspirational female leader in the automotive industry.
The winner will be revealed today at the next virtual Women With Drive event to celebrate International Women’s Day. As well as the award, the winner will receive £5,000 to spend on her own personal development.
Huew Merriman MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: “We cannot afford to let the headline figures of this report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport and the industry group, Women in Transport go unchallenged.
“The Transport sector has always been the engine for ideas, innovation and change. From the challenges of the pandemic to delivering decarbonisation, we need new transport pioneers more than ever. The sector needs to reflect the country at large. Barriers to entry need to be knocked down.
“We must reflect the range and expertise which women bring to the transport sector to deliver this change. Our committee will join with you to deliver it.”
Despite the negative experiences, 83% of the women surveyed were ‘overwhelmingly proud’ to work in the transport sector, and 85% were likely to recommend a transport career to other women.
Katie Hulland, president of Women in Transport, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to address a gap in knowledge by researching the perceptions and experiences of women in transport.
“While our report highlights many challenges women working in the transport sector are currently facing, it is great to see most of the women we surveyed are proud to work in our industry.
“We will continue to support our Women in Transport members with a range of professional development events and initiatives, including a new leadership development programme.
“We would also welcome Government, parliamentarians and the transport industry working with us to deliver an industry wide campaign tackling the macho culture in transport.”
The report provides recommendations for Government and the transport industry to adopt including profiling and celebrating diversity within the transport sector.