Today (Thursday 8th March), people around the world will be joining together to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women as part of International Women’s Day 2018. In a year that marks 100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK, it seems pertinent that this year’s theme is #Pressforprogress which is a call for men and women everywhere to press forward and progress women’s parity.
In the transport sector overall, this message is particularly important. Considering women first entered the transport sector over 100 years ago, during the First World War, it is surprising that they account for just 22% of the transport sector in the UK. Back in the early 1900’s when men were being called up to fight for their country, some 100,000 women joined the transport industry to deliver tube, bus, rail and tram services. Women kept those services running and Britain moving during that time.
Despite women entering the transport industry for the first time in 1914, it still took until 1974 for Transport for London to appoint their first female bus driver and only recently, in 2015, a woman won UK Bus Driver of the Year at the UK Bus Awards for the first time.
In community transport, it’s a different story which is not surprising given that women are particularly likely to be involved in activities that have a community benefit. We are immensely proud of the many women in the sector who work tirelessly to ensure services are delivered for those who need them the most. Across the sector, women carry out a wide range of roles such as volunteer driver, mechanic, transport manager and more, ensuring that each day, across the UK transport can be accessible and inclusive.
There are still plenty of opportunities for more women to join us in helping to keep people moving regardless of any barriers they might face in accessing transport services so if you are interested to get involved with any aspect of community transport, just look up your local operator and find out what opportunities are available.
Finally, we just want to say THANK YOU to all the amazing and inspirational women in community transport who go that extra mile each day to ensure people can make those extremely important journeys which allow so many individuals to remain independent and enjoy a decent quality of life.