We have a major problem here, and you can help to set it right.
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?”
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.
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.
- “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. ”