Increasing women’s representation in transport workforce is crucial, says Secretary of State

Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport gave the keynote speech at the joint summer reception of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport and the APPG for Infrastructure (APPGI), saying increasing the number of women in the transport workforce is vital.

The Secretary of State addressed APPG members and an audience of around 100 industry representatives from transport and infrastructure at the event held at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London last week.

The reception was an opportunity for parliamentarians from both the APPGs, as well as senior leaders from across the transport and infrastructure sectors, to discuss how to work together to break down the barriers that prevent women from joining and progressing in these sectors.

Grayling provided an update on the government’s transport infrastructure pipeline. The APPGI works to highlight the importance of infrastructure, engineering and the use of underground space to the economy and society. It aims to act as a champion on behalf of the sector and show policymakers why and how we should invest in, plan and deliver the infrastructure and underground structures that the UK requires.

Vicky Ford MP, Chair of the APPGI, said:

 “All of those who attended the event – from industry leaders to politicians, to young professionals – believe in the importance of infrastructure. It’s vital that existing infrastructure is well maintained, and that investment is made into new infrastructure in order to meet future needs.”

In his address, Grayling highlighted the importance of ensuring a diverse workforce to deliver the projects in the government’s pipeline and the need to increase the representation of women working across the transport sector to better reflect the UK population:

“It’s clear that women should not be so underrepresented across the transport network; it not only robs them of opportunities, but also robs industry of their talents.

There are too many talented women who feel like the transport sector simply doesn’t appeal to them and I want companies across the land to double down on their efforts to change that perception.”

The APPG for Women in Transport provides a forum to discuss and overcome the under-representation of women in transport by promoting best practice examples of employers leading the way in gender diversifying their workforce.

Chair of the APPG for Women in Transport, Ruth Cadbury MP said:

“Women’s representation in the transport industry is actually decreasing, which means we are continuing to miss out on the benefits of women being involved in planning, designing, constructing, and operating transport programmes.

Transport is used by everyone, so a diverse range of views needs to shape and inform transport at all stages to make it successful.

It is clear we need to do more and think differently about how to tackle the underrepresentation of women in transport. What we are doing at the moment, is not working sufficiently. That’s why the APPG for Women in Transport will publish a policy paper highlighting best practice and providing a snapshot of what it is like to be a woman in the transport industry in 2019.”

This year’s APPG summer reception was sponsored by Eurovia UK, who joined Women in Transport as corporate members on International Women’s Day earlier this year.

Scott Wardrop, Chief Executive at Eurovia UK said:

“Our businesses in the UK are absolutely committed to recruiting and retaining outstanding talent from all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities. We know we have more to do to attract young and talented people from these backgrounds into STEM and transportation careers, but we need this influence at much younger ages, earlier in school curriculums. Providing our employees with membership of, and access to, the Women in Transport network is one of the ways in which we are working to help to inspire and support women across our businesses, so that we may start to redress diversity and inclusion in our sector.”

Have you got a great example from your organisation to share? Contact Jo Field at if you would like to contribute a case study for inclusion in the Women in Transport policy paper or signpost an existing resource. Women in Transport is also keen to speak to any organisation that would like to support our primary research into the perceptions, attitudes and barriers for women working in transport.

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