June 7, 2011
The inaugural roundtable for women working in blue collar transportation careers was held on Friday, June 3, at the U.S. Department of Transportation. This roundtable included representatives of 25 organizations from a broad array of transportation fields, including women who drive trucks and buses, operate ships, trains and pipelines, build roads and bridges, and fix airplanes.
During the meeting, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood highlighted that women are an important part of the nation’s transportation workforce and encouraged participants to work together to address the unique challenges that exist for women across the industry.
Following this charge, participants actively worked to identify both the challenges and strategies for creating opportunities for women in areas that are traditionally held by their male counterparts.
Sara Manzano-Diaz, director of the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor, provided an overarching picture of women working in America and the particular challenges faced by women in blue collar types of careers. These include a lack of information about opportunities for women, feelings of isolation for women working in male dominated trades, and the limited availability of equipment sized for women.
“We are honored to be part of this important roundtable,” said Kimberly Kayler, co-founder of Women in Concrete Alliance. “The task at hand is important for both women and the trade occupations. Young people are needed in the trades and we need to take a look at how to create an awareness of those vital professions.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Labor and the organizations represented to enhance opportunities for women to participate in these important careers.