We’ve come a long way in recent years but there’s still more to do – and it matters, because true diversity brings better everything

We’ve got some fantastic women in our business

BY Lorna Murphy

This International Women’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come but also how much more there still is to do. When I joined the business in 2005, we were a company that was just 4% female. 4%! Today, I’m proud that this has increased to 14%, with 36% of senior managers now female, in a sector that is still only 10% female, but it makes me think of all that is still so badly needed.

Some people may ponder why there’s such focus on this; why does it matter? It matters because true diversity brings better everything – representation, thought leadership, challenge, better outcomes and much more. If everyone in the room is the same kind of person, then we will be limited in what we can achieve, but through bringing different viewpoints, lived experiences and backgrounds, we will achieve so much more. At the end of the day, what we do matters – we’re transporting people safely to wherever they need to go – work, home, events, health appointments, shopping, wherever – public transport is the heartbeat of our great city, but we’re not reflective of those communities travelling with us, and we should be.

Over the last year, we’ve seen the launch of Women in Bus and Coach, which Transport UK is thrilled to actively support. I am also a director on the board there. As Louise Cheeseman has mentioned (pages 34-35), we’re going to deliver meaningful improvements, and I know that operators, authorities, manufacturers, and partners up and down the country are really starting to mobilise now.

The United Nations sets the theme for International Women’s Day each year and the 2024 theme is #InvestInWomen – what an amazing theme! It packs a punch and really means something.

We are actively reviewing our policies, events, language, comms, advertising and more

So, what is Transport UK doing to invest in women? We are actively reviewing our policies, events, language, comms, advertising and more. We’ve introduced free and good quality sanitary products for all colleagues and visitors, launched a Menopause Policy, introduced training and workshops on menopause, we have an all-female management team at one depot, a series of work experience placements, changed the language used on job adverts, ensured good representation across our comms and pictures. Future work will review our maternity and adoption policies and introduce a mentoring scheme across the business; our next uniform rollout will have temperature-controlled items. We are reviewing how we can better support flexible working for all colleagues and support colleagues through significant life transitions. We are also actively looking at what more we can do to encourage women to join our engineering teams.

Across March, we’re featuring and celebrating the profiles of some of our female colleagues from across the business, some of whom are pictured alongside this article – because aren’t there just a plethora of things you can do in Bus! There are excellent careers to achieve here and I really want people to see that. I think that being able to see someone who looks a bit like you doing great things is a real barrier-breaker and one that we as an industry need to do more of.

Allyship is also critical to achieving our goals. We’re lucky here at Transport UK to have some fantastic allies. I’ve certainly been well supported throughout my career to date, and I see it happening around the business with colleagues, too. Women need to make sure they’re allies for each other, too.

We’ve got some fantastic women in our business, and I will continue to champion them throughout their careers and do all I can to help bring more women into this great sector. Doing so will continue to drive improvements in public transport, make us reflective of our communities, drive customer experience, safety, and so much more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lorna murphy is operations and HR director at Transport UK London Bus. She is also a director at Women in Bus and Coach.

This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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