Gender equality in transport: can we GET-IT?

POLIS is passionate about supporting women in the transport sector, promoting their role in developing innovative concepts, technologies and projects. The founders of Gender Equality Toolkit in Transport (the GET-IT) are just three such women making waves across urban mobility.

GET-IT is an open-access toolkit that helps inform and demonstrate how gendered needs can be taken into consideration across the mobility sector.

For any organization seeking to get to grips with gender equality in their workplace and across their activities, it can often be a complex and daunting task. However, there is a growing body of expert advice, providing guidance and best practices.

In comes GET-IT. The women-run initiative's reps spoke to us about why the toolkit is needed and how it aims to change support employment and training for women across the industry.

What is GET-IT?

The toolkit provides key resources for mobility stakeholders who are seeking to take practical steps to implement gender equality across their work. Drawing from extensive literature review and their own survey data and workshops, the toolkit examines education and awareness, engagement, data, monitoring and many other fields.

Who is the team behind the initiative?

We are Molly, Marie and Laura; three early-career transport planning professionals who work for Mott MacDonald, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and WSP respectively.

The GET-IT founders, image from Molly Hoggard

How did GET-IT start?

We entered the 2020/21 Future Transport Visions Group (FTVG) competition and were successfully awarded funding to carry out a 12-week research project. This ran from March to May 2021, investigating how transport professionals respond to the challenges faced by women’s unequal access to mobility. From this, we created the Toolkit.

Why does the transport sector need such a guide?

Our inspiration for GET-IT was initially sparked by ‘Invisible Women: Exposing Bias in a World Designed for Men’ by Caroline Criado Perez. The book illustrates how the world that we live in was largely built and designed for men.

As transport planners, we recognise that we each have a responsibility to ensure that transport systems and the associated infrastructure are attractive, safe, easy to navigate and accessible for all, including women and people of marginalised genders. In our research, we identified that there is little guidance out there to help educate and support the transport industry in providing for women’s mobilities needs i.e. through gender mainstreaming, and this is how the GET IT came to being.

What are the key successes you have seen?

In summer 2021 GET-IT won the FTVG Outstanding Project Award. Since then, we have presented it on panels and podcasts, and we have spoken and held workshops about it to a wide range of stakeholders, from local and national transport authorities to academics and operators.

We have been deeply encouraged by the response and excited by the industry’s appetite for change.  GET-IT has continued to gain further traction and this year we are exploring further options to further expand our work – so watch this space!

What is the ultimate aim?

GET-IT strives to inform transport professionals how the work that they do and the decisions that they make impact women's mobility and to provide a resource to encourage them to be gender-responsive, to ultimately create gender-inclusive transport systems!

The most important thing that we hope the GET-IT achieves is to help keep gender on the agenda and to keep people talking about why it matters and why the current status quo is not fit for purpose!

We’ve seen that the transport industry is beginning to recognise the role it plays in creating gender equality. The Gender Equality Toolkit in Transport is an integral resource for the industry to step up and make this change!