Ministers across the Department for Transport (DfT) have written to industry leaders calling on them to take action to increase the availability of opportunities across the sector to women.
This action is the culmination of weeks of activity in which ministers across the Department for Transport have reached out to raise the issue of getting more women into the transport sector.
Drawing this together, the DfT announced that it will shortly be holding a major round-table to look into the barriers preventing women from joining the sector. It will seek to drive positive change similar to that seen within DfT over the last couple of years.
Currently, just 6% of pilots and 7% of train drivers are female, and women account for just 18% of the transport sector workforce overall. At the DfT, 2 of the 5 current ministers are women, as is the Permanent Secretary.
This year International Women’s Day is being celebrated on Friday 8 March, with the theme of #BalanceforBetter to drive gender balance across the world.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
It is unacceptable that out of every 100 airline pilots, only 6 are women and that for every 100 train drivers only 7 are women.
There are some good initiatives across all transport sectors but it is clear that much more needs to be done by the industry to provide opportunities for women, as we work with them to better understand the reasons behind poor female representation across the transport workforce.
The round-table I am announcing today will help industry develop plans to bring more women into the sector and help ensure the widest possible talent from across the whole of society is engaged and able to access the great careers the transport sector offers.
Katie Hulland, President of Women in Transport:
Women in Transport welcomes this action to help our industry understand the barriers to women entering and progressing in the transport sector. Despite significant initiatives across our sector, the number of women working in transport in the UK has declined in recent years.
It’s essential that we understand why this is happening and identify practical measures that will create a more balanced workforce that reflects the UK population. We believe collaboration across the sector and governmental support is the key to unlocking the potential talent pool that women offer to the transport sector
Department for Transport ministers have been highlighting this issue across the industry and are asking them to work towards profound change.
Baroness Sugg visited Stansted Airport last week to meet a group of children who heard from female pilots about careers in the aerospace industry, and has written to Airlines UK, UK airlines and the Airport Operators Association. She also recently spoke at the launch of the British Airline Pilots Association’s Baby on Board campaign on maternity pay provision for pilots.
Nusrat Ghani continues to motivate the maritime industry through the Women in Maritime Charter, which challenges companies to make progress on diversity, and last week signed the Women in Maritime Pledge alongside Hutchinson Ports. She is also supporting the Women in Maritime Taskforce and has today (March 8 2019) announced £100,000 for the 1851 Trust to support 10 roadshows to get young women interested in STEM subjects and maritime careers.
On Tuesday Chris Grayling spoke at the Airport Operators Association about the under-representation of women in the aviation industry, and has ensured that gender balance in the rail sector is part of the Williams Rail Review. Today he is announcing an industry-wide round-table which will explore the barriers for women to get into the transport sector.
Andrew Jones visited Doncaster on Thursday in the latest of many visits to where he has seen the work the rail industry is doing to improve female participation in the workforce, particularly at apprentice level, he has written to the Rail Delivery Group and Rail Supply Group encouraging them to do more at all levels of the industry.
Jesse Norman has reached out to the entire logistics sector by writing to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, the Freight Transport Association, the Institute of Couriers, and the Road Haulage Association calling for greater representation of women across the sector. The department is also working with a representative group from across the logistics industry to develop a year of events and guidance to help the sector improve its gender diversity.