Women in Transport

Sep 24 2015
Following the adoption of the EESC opinion on Women in Transport, Commissioner Bulc invited me as rapporteur of the opinion to attend a meeting of a group of experts to discuss proposals on how to move forward on the topic.
The following are the notes provided from the meeting by the Commission.
I will propose that the EESC supports the Commission by holding a hearing on the topic with civil society.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information madi@madisharma.org.

"Women and Transport"

Brainstorming meeting of 24/9/2015


Very few women are transport workers. Three main questions were asked to participants:

WHAT is the most pressing issue from your perspective?
WHY does this issue arise?
HOW can we solve the above issues? What are your concrete proposals on one of the clusters?


WHAT is the most pressing issue?


  1. Stereotypes

- Male-centered culture, mentalities.

  1. Lack of data

- Lack of awareness

  1. Lack of attractiveness

- Harsh working environment (including safety/security aspects).


P.M. the following other important issues were identified: work-life balance, lack of opportunities and pay gap, economic (ageing of the transport workforce), strong resistance to change, difference private/public sector. These were weighted as less important than the three top issues

WHY do these issues arise?


  1. Stereotypes/mentalities
  2. Education, values not shared.
    b. "Muscle labour" stereotypes. Lack of awareness of new business opportunities.
    c. Lack of support by leadership, shortage of role models.
  3. Lack of data
  4. Gender disaggregated data not compulsory.
    b. No harmonisation of data collection.
    c. No use of data able to justify their importance.
  5. Lack of attractiveness
  6. Bad perception of transport jobs.
    b. Traditional male predominance.
    c. Work organization not adapted to women.


HOW can we solve the above issues?


  1. Stereotypes/mentalities
  2. Launch awareness campaigns (including with role models).
    b. Highlight changes in mobility and new opportunities (sharing economy).
    c. Create a platform for continuous dialogue and define incentives/awards to hear more voices and promote good practice.
  3. Lack of data and awareness

Long term:
a. Set common standards with Eurostat, the EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality), including qualitative data (e.g. share of voluntary part-time). Relay that at national level.

Medium term:
b. Work with social partners.
c. Add the gender dimension to impact assessments.


  1. Lack of attractiveness in a wide sense
  2. Analyse State-of-the-Art on gender issues (with industry and social partners including best (promotion) practices).
    b. Define a Charter of Values.
    c. Provide EU guidelines to companies and sectors.


Main summing-up from Commissioner Bulc

We should address the three priority points.

-Need to distinguish perceptions and facts: work to improve the image of the sector and change mentalities. Bring the topic into statistics.

-Promotion of the topic through dialogue at hosted events and campaigns to increase awareness.

-Provide guidance to stakeholders.

Final remarks from the participants


- To change this we need voices, vision and leadership will.

- Should this small group be turned into a reflection group?

- Can we make men talk more about gender equality issues, including President Juncker?



Annex - Participants


Cabinet Bulc: Commissioner Violeta Bulc, Andreja Kodrin, Martina Hakl

Cabinet Jourova: Eduard Hulicius

DG MOVE: Maria Cristina Marolda, Jean-Louis Colson, Gilles Bergot, Sophie Marin-Combeaud

Facilitator: Ian Andersen

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Claudia Ana Tapardel, Oana Langa

Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU: Åsa Webber

EESC (European Economic and Social Committee): Madi Šharma

ETF (European Transport Workers' Federation): Cristina Tilling

UITP (International Association for Public Transport): Brigitte Ollier

Air France-KLM: Emmanuel Jahan

University of London: Brigita Jurisic





© 2020 Madi Sharma. All rights reserved.