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  • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
    Dear Friends, What can I say but splendid! We are clearly on the right track here. And while thus far I have been receiving responses and nominations by
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 11, 2004

      Dear Friends,


      What can I say but splendid!  We are clearly on the right track here. And while thus far I have been receiving responses and nominations by private mail (which normally we do prefer) I would say in this case since the issues are so very important – this after all is very much what one might reasonably call a ‘shaping initiative’ – I am going to ask you to report back to the group with your nominations, at least in cases where you have something by way of a wake-up call to draw to all our attention.  Here are a handful of the comments that we have received in the first 24 hours on this that fall into this category:


      • “I came from a developing country and my background is sociology and I am still in the process of learning the technical field of transportation. I am right now, a transport planning PhD student. And yes, all my professors are male. I also have been in some transport conferences and  unfortunately, the majority of those who attended are also male. I hope you can encourage  more women to join and participate. ”

      • “I just saw your call and I would like to join in and participate in discussions and development of a less male and increasingly sustainable transport paradigm. I am researcher in Peace and Development Research and mostly focusing on issues of mobility and cities. ”

      • I would also add that style and tone of discussions may also have something to do with it. Guys tend to seek victory in their participation, whether through "robust argument", inflicting crushing defeat on the opposition, or carefully structured arguments designed to show futility of alternative viewpoints. Not everyone considers this to be 'discussion', and some will avoid participation in what they perceive to be a gladiatorial pit.”

      • “In Bogotá we have done research on why the people who are part of a transport organization are mainly men, and found really nice things, especially when we saw the specific cases in which women were managers or drivers of bus companies. Thus, the same reflection applied to this group might prove more interesting. Why is it that women don't participate in these things? Does someone have any research on women's relationship with the topic of transport? Is it the same gender-biased question as is "Why don't men like cutting flowers and smelling them?" I'm willing to do some research on the first topic (being a psychologist), want to join me?”

      • Well, I'm female (and, incidentally, a wheelchair user so that makes me even more strange in the transport world).  I don't post much at the moment, since I'm up to my neck in work (I'm a consultant - what does that say about the transport world not employing females or disabled people) and research for my doctorate on valuation frameworks for inclusive transport, for which I hope to pick some of your brains in due course.....  But I do read your words of wisdom avidly and I shall chip in when I'm moved to say something worthwhile (actually, research indicates that women take up less air time than men in meetings - I don't know if that applies to email discussion groups).  And I'll find a woman colleague or two to join us, hopefully.

      • “I find that despite the fact that the environment community is overwhelmingly female, the transport community is overwhelmingly male.  Thus, it seems that for sustainable transport to happen, there must be a marriage of the two! ”

      • “Here are some candidates I would recommend. But let me warn you, they are all tough cookies and may offer more than “soft” options that we may to expect from women, but I’m sure they will add strength to the forum – if they choose to actively participate in the discussions.”

      “Tough cookies”. Not bad, eh?  And no doubt we all need more of this kind of leadership and support.


      So, I hope that this will encourage those of you who have not yet picked up your pens and made your nominations and suggestions to do exactly this.  We will all be better for it.


      Eric Britton



      The Commons: Increasing the uncomfort zone for hesitant administrators and politicians; pioneering new concepts for business, entrepreneurs, activists, community groups, and local government; and through our joint efforts, energy and personal choices, placing them and ourselves firmly on the path to a more sustainable and more just society.



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