Barriers to women’s employment in the transport sector in Europe

Andree Woodcock, stefan roseanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The H2020 TinnGO (Transport and Innovation Gender Observatory) project ( addressed gender inequality in mobility patterns, education, and employment in the transport sector. The European transport sector has around 22% of female transport workers [1] – making it one of the most traditional, male dominated, and change resistant sectors.
This paper provides 1) a contemporary picture of women’s work experiences in the transport sector in 10 socially and economically divergent counties in the European Union (i.e. United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Baltic Countries, Greece); and 2) recommendations on how to reduce gender inequalities. Data was collected using desk top research, surveys and follow up interviews and case studies with successful women and female entrepreneurs.
Results triangulated well. Persistent themes emerged relevant to women’s underrepresentation in certain transport-related jobs and their over representation in support and administrative functions. The surveys revealed key barriers such as misogynistic attitudes, male dominated hierarchies, recruitment bias, reluctance to acknowledge a woman’s role and contributions, gender pay gap, male - dominated professional networks and the gender ’glass ceiling.’ Follow up case studies explored the strategies ‘successful’ women had used to overcome these.
The number of women employed in transport is slowly rising despite very real gender inequalities in employment. Although some countries have developed frameworks for encouraging women into STEM careers, mentorship schemes and networks, the results show that these are not enough to reduce the persistent gender inequalities, harassment and stereotyping women are subjected to on a daily basis. Concrete recommendations are provided by our ‘distinguished entrepreneurs’ [2] on ways in which the quality of working life for women can be improved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Research Europe
Publication statusSubmitted - 22 May 2023


  • transport industry
  • gender
  • EU
  • professional women
  • entrepeneurship
  • resilience


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