In the first of a series of features on this year’s FTVG participants; Molly Hoggard, Marie Godward and Laura Brooks talk through what they hope to achieve on their project to develop a Gender Equality Toolkit.
Accessible, safe and affordable transport services are fundamental for a good quality of life and to support social and economic growth. However, it is well documented that access to transport services and the associated infrastructure are not gender neutral.
Both Molly and Marie highlighted the recently published book “Invisible Women” by Caroline Criado Perez as the inspiration for starting this project.
“It shined a light on how transport systems and services are based upon data that is largely focused on men’s travel patterns and doesn’t account for women’s more unique needs”, said Molly Hoggard, a graduate transport planner at Mott MacDonald.
“When the FTVG funding opportunity presented itself, it sounded like a great opportunity to research and develop solutions collaboratively with other early years professionals to address the gender data gap in society”, added Marie Godward, also a graduate transport planner at Mott MacDonald.
FTVG aims to bring together collaborative project groups from multiple organisations and specialisms. In the early stages of project development, it helped put Marie and Molly in touch with Laura Brooks, a transport planner at Civic Engineers.
“Originally, I had approached the FTVG with a different area of research! However, FTVG put me in touch with Molly and Marie and once I heard about their project idea, I was keen to get involved in this important research”, said Laura.
Following several weeks of early project development, the team submitted their project proposal and funding request to FTVG.
After successfully receiving funding from FTVG, the group produced a survey to understand the extent to which gender is considered in everyday transport practice.
Following on from the survey, the group plans to host a series of workshops to develop a deeper understanding of some of the approaches to gender equality in the transport industry.
Laura explained; “We are coordinating two to three workshop sessions to home in on key issues and ensure the eventual development of our toolkit is informed by discussions with key stakeholders.”
Marie hopes the sessions will enable the group to get into the detail of some of the actions and barriers experienced across the sector;
“These workshops will be an opportunity for transport professionals to have an open and frank conversation about what we already do to address gender equality issues in the sector and the challenges and opportunities a gender mainstreaming approach presents.”
The group hopes that combining both best practice and emerging ideas from the survey and workshops will create gender equality toolkit; acting as a single point of reference for transport practitioners to incorporate gender considerations into their work.
As well as acting as a resource, Molly hopes that the toolkit will have some wider applications;
“We hope to shed some awareness on the issue of gender inaccessibility in transport and to get conversations going, particularly so that professionals in the industry can understand how the work they do has a part to play.”
So far, the funding has contributed towards professional web-hosting and conferencing software and charitable incentives for taking part in the engagement activities. The group has also included allocations for their own time spent on the project in facilitating the sessions.
As well as making an impact on the wider industry, the group hopes that taking part in the FTVG initiative will be beneficial for their own personal and professional development. Marie thinks it will help with developing her wider skills;
“This project is a great opportunity to build experience in areas such as workshop hosting, communicating research findings with industry professionals and managing a project from the beginning to end-stage which I think will very beneficial for my own professional development.”
Laura is looking towards how the project will contribute towards her chartership objectives;
“FTVG provides an opportunity to take part in research which can be used as part of the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) Portfolio of Evidence. It complements skills I’ve developed through work and my university course, helping me to demonstrate experience and proficiency in key areas.”
Meanwhile, Molly is pleased with the networking opportunities offered through the initiative;
“The FTVG initiative has enabled us to contact people in the transport world about our research that we usually wouldn’t get a chance to speak with. It has helped us to expand our networks and is also a good opportunity to impact the transport profession outside of our direct work environment.”
The group will finalise their project in May 2021, and will find out later in the summer whether they are winners in the “Best Project” category.
The outputs of this and the other four projects taking part this year will be available on www.ftvg.co.uk