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Today (International Women’s Day), parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have called on government and the transport industry to challenge macho behaviours and culture in the transport workplace, following the publication of new research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport and the industry group, Women in Transport. 

The survey of 567 transport industry professionals showed over two-thirds (69%) of women felt the transport industry has a macho culture. 70% of women also perceived 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).

The survey highlighted statistically significant 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.

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport, Ruth Cadbury MP 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.” 

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman MP 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 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 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 makes recommendations for 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.

The full report is available for download on the Women in Transport website.