Illustration of Heart pledge gender equality.

Our Founder, Jo Field, has written a blog for International Women's Day:

Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. 

The World Economic Forum predicts it will take until 2186 to close the gender gap in health, education, politics and pay. That’s 170 years until we reach gender parity. But that's too long to wait.

So, on this year’s International Women's Day, campaigners are asking each one of us to step up and take bold action to accelerate gender parity and achieve groundbreaking change for women.

Achieving gender parity in the transport workforce

The business benefits of achieving gender parity in the workplace are clear. Firms with the highest levels of gender and ethnic diversity have been shown to outperform their competitors. The opportunities for business gain are far greater in industries where women are under-represented, such as transport, infrastructure, construction and engineering.

Recent EU data shows just 22% of UK transport jobs are held by women. I believe we need to do more to inspire current and future generations of women to consider the range of exciting careers in the industry.

The infrastructure skills gap, predicted by Government to be 55,000 workers by 2020, is also a big issue. It’s clear that increasing the number of women in the transport workforce, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) roles will help address the gap. Unless we widen the talent pool to include more women, there will not be enough people with the right skills to deliver forthcoming major transport infrastructure projects.

Five bold actions employers can take

Many businesses in the transport industry want to achieve a more diverse workforce, but simply don’t know where to start. JFG Communications can help by creating and advising on initiatives to help companies achieve their diversity objectives.

Here are five bold actions that employers can take on International Women’s Day and beyond. Taking these steps will drive forward change, achieve greater gender parity and help attract and retain women at all levels:

  1. Put responsibility for diversity and inclusion squarely in the hands of directors and make them accountable for it.
  2. Insist on diverse shortlists. Send candidate lists back to recruiters if they contain no visible diversity.
  3. Establish diverse interview panels. Recruitment panels that lack diversity are more likely to make recruitment decisions that favour ‘people like them’, thereby disadvantaging under-represented groups.
  4. Use name-blind recruitment, where all personal details are removed from the recruitment process.
  5. Profile women at all levels of the workforce. This gives young women visible role models to inspire them.