EESC President Georges Dassis and European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, joined by Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson and Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee Karima Delli, officially launched the EU Platform for Change at a major conference at the EESC in Brussels on 27 November 2017. The platform aims to increase female employment and equal opportunities in the transport sector.
The EU Platform for Change was officially launched by Georges Dassis, EESC President, and Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, in the presence of Kadri Simson, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, and Karima Delli, Chair of the European Parliament's TRAN Committee, at a conference co-organised in Brussels by the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) and DG MOVE on 27 November 2017. The Platform has been developed by the EESC in cooperation with the European Commission with a view to increasing female employment and equal opportunities in the transport sector. It will enable stakeholders from all transport sectors to highlight their specific initiatives promoting gender equality and to exchange good practices.
"Trying to improve equality between men and women in the transport sector is not only a question of gender equality: it is an economic and social imperative, and it is about employment, innovation, sustainability and growth in the EU," stated the EESC President, Mr Dassis. According to Commissioner Bulc, "Only 22% of transport workers are women. There is huge potential for the sector to improve equal opportunities and I am excited that companies and organisations agree on this and are committing themselves to increasing female employment. By involving women and men together to promote gender equality we will ensure that our societies will flourish at all levels."
"Transport is going through a time of turbulent changes, and women should enjoy equal opportunities in this sector that offers new challenges – we need to make progress in order to achieve a more gender-balanced transport sector," echoed the Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Ms Simson. "The Platform is an excellent initiative to bring together stakeholders and promote dialogue. We need to find solutions quickly," acknowledged Ms Delli, the Chair of the European Parliament Transport Committee, who also underlined "the question of women as users of transport and the issue of safety as a priority."
Other high-level speakers included Pierre Jean Coulon, President of the EESC TEN Section and Madi Sharma, EESC member and initiator of the idea to set up a Platform (please see the EESC opinion on "Women and transport – Platform for Change"). During the launch event, participants actively participated in a brainstorming session where they explored the functioning of the Platform and reflected on key topics such as setting targets for female employment, the opportunities brought by innovation, effective initiatives to fight gender-based violence in the workplace and the feasibility of more flexible shifts to increase work-life balance. Interested parties were also invited to sign a declaration to make their endeavours in favour of gender equality more widely known.
The Platform, to be managed by the European Commission, will work on a collaborative basis and membership will be open to all stakeholders in the transport sector taking specific measures. Members will set priorities together, have the opportunity to comment on each other's commitments and discuss any other relevant topic.