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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.

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1 Although more than half of the country’s transit passengers are women, women are underrepresented in transit jobs and are particularly outnumbered in leadership posi- tions (TransitCenter 2018). Many benefits can be experienced by organizations when they increase diversity, including increasing the representation of women within their workforce. With more women entering the workforce and jobs in transit available, it is worthwhile to focus efforts on attracting, retaining, and advancing women within the transit workforce. The objective of this research was to explore the strategies that have been deployed to date in transit and related industries to recruit or attract, retain, and advance women in a variety of roles. Data were gathered for this project though a literature review, survey of transit agencies, and case study interviews with transit agency representatives about their strate- gies to attract, retain, and advance women. These data are synthesized in this report, which provides information on current barriers and cultural elements of transit agencies that affect the number of women in the industry and that documents case examples of implementation of strategies to attract, retain, and advance women in transit agencies. Barriers to Women in Transit When examining barriers that keep women from entering into careers in transit and from developing careers in transit, there are several themes. Specifically, these themes include • General lack of transit job outreach to women and promotional strategies that focus on women. • Social factors with the message that men traditionally perform transit jobs. • The dominant masculine culture in transit agencies due to the proportionally greater presence of men in the workforce population. • Safety and health concerns applicable to women. • Challenges with accommodating responsibilities outside of work. Each of these barriers can influence women’s decisions to seek employment in transit, satisfaction with positions once employed, and promotional abilities. Strategies to Attract, Retain, and Advance Women To address barriers to attracting, retaining, and advancing women in transit, a variety of strategies can be used. These strategies have been identified through literature reviews of both transit and nontransit sources and information gathered directly from transit S U M M A R Y Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit

2 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit agencies. Because the needs and organizational context within each transit agency may dif- fer, various strategies may be more or less useful in varying organizations. Exhibit 1 presents an overview of the strategies likely to be the most beneficial for transit agencies as they look to attract, retain, and advance women within their own organizations and within the indus- try as a whole. Because many of these strategies are not yet used in transit agencies or may be used in informal rather than formal ways, their value to the transit industry still needs to be demonstrated. However, each of these strategies has been effective in other industries. Overall, results of the survey align well with the literature review findings in that they identify similar barriers and strategies related to recruiting, retaining, and advancing women. Additionally, the survey results show promising information in that transit agencies are focusing on diversity initiatives. However, the survey results indicate some room for improvement, because not all transit agencies surveyed have specific strate- gies in place to focus on diversity, or attracting, retaining, or advancing women. The case examples presented in this report demonstrate how varying transit agencies have implemented some of these initiatives. Exhibit 1. Overview of beneficial strategies to attract, retain, and advance women in transit. Category Strategy Attracting Women to Transit Jobs Conduct outreach about transit careers in schools . Communicate about transit careers in the community. Improve the image of transit as a career. Focus on recruiting women. Review current hiring practices for gender-based stereotypes. Outline goals for recruiting women. Retaining Women in Transit Agencies Address culture change. Improve organizational policies for addressing safety and health concerns (as an employee and as a transit user). Provide training and developmental support. Initiate networking opportunities. Improve accommodations for responsibilities outside of work . Developing/Advancing Women in Transit Careers Provide mentoring opportunities (or networking guidance). Outline steps to career development within transit work roles. Consider work assignment equality . Overarching Strategies to Support Women in Transit Incorporate imagery or messaging of women in transit . Develop internships, apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships focusing on women. Establish a transit Women’s Action Council. Acknowledge women’s contributions to the transit industry. Reduce safety and health concerns.

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Women have traditionally been underrepresented within the transit workforce. However, the percentage of women within transit agencies appears to be increasing, and many transit agencies report that the percentage of women advancing into management and leadership positions has also been increasing over the past 5 years.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 147: Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit explores the strategies that have been deployed in transit and other related industries in order to attract, retain, and advance women in a variety of roles.

A critical first step to ensure success in these areas is to remove barriers to entry and address challenges women face once employed.

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