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Government and transport sector must challenge macho culture, new report finds

The Government and transport industry are being urged to challenge macho behaviours and culture in the transport workplace after new research uncovered negative experiences.

The study found 70% of the women surveyed in the transport sector said they had experienced discriminatory behaviour or language

The study by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport and the Women in Transport industry group said over two-thirds (69%) of women felt the transport industry has a macho culture.

The survey of 567 transport industry professionals also revealed that 70% of women perceive the industry to have an image problem.

Alarmingly, 70% of the women surveyed said they had experienced discriminatory behaviour or language – this included derogatory or sexist remarks, jokes or statements targeted at them.

Ruth Cadbury MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport, said the research findings support anecdotal reports over 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.”

The report makes recommendations for the Government and the transport industry to take forward, including profiling and celebrating the diverse range of people within the transport sector who are helping the UK to build back better; and embedding flexible working policies post-Covid-19.

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman MP commented: “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 reporting somewhat negative experiences of industry culture, the women surveyed were overwhelmingly proud to work in the transport sector (83%), and 85% were likely to recommend a transport career to other women.

Katie Hulland, president of Women in Transport, continued: “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 – Lead.”

The Lead programme starts in April 2021 and provides an opportunity to empower women working in transport to progress to senior positions whilst building a high-quality alumni network.

To find out more about the ‘Lead’ programme, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.