A new national project to showcase women in transport and tackle some of the negative perceptions of an industry career is now up and running.
The National Women in Transport initiative aims to improve the gender balance within the transport industry by bringing government and industry together, according to the new website, womenintransport.gov.au.
One way it’s aiming to achieve that goal is through the speaker bureau, which officially launched at a Roads Australia-hosted event in Melbourne today on the eve of International Women’s Day.
The speaker bureau brings together a list of women working in transport who are available to speak at events.
The launch event included a keynote address by Victorian transport minister Jacinta Allan MP, and Diane Brown, deputy secretary, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
This was followed by a panel discussion featuring senior transport leaders sharing their views on overcoming the barriers to women choosing to work in transport.
Panel moderator, Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew said genuinely diverse and inclusive workplaces consistently report higher people engagement, resilience, productivity and performance.
“By taking deliberate and meaningful steps to address the working needs of women and other underrepresented groups in the transport sector, we can unlock additional capacity to deliver the record infrastructure pipeline and support Australia’s long-term prosperity,” she said.
As well as the dedicated website and speaker bureau profiling women leaders, over the next year the National Women in Transport program will also publish key transport workforce data and deliver a series of events to connect industry leaders.
Currently, while women make up 50 per cent of the labour pool, they make up only 27.4 per cent of workers in the transport, postal and warehousing sector, according to ABS data.
That figure is reduced to around 20 per cent for land transport alone. Only 4.5 per cent of transport CEOs are women and the pay gap of more than 16 per cent is above the average gap of 14 per cent.
National Transport Commission CEO Gillian Miles said Australia is experiencing an infrastructure and transport investment boom and needs people with the skills to deliver it.
“If we’re not ensuring women are part of the transport industry, and comfortable in it, we have an economic problem as well as a social one,” said Miles.