Apr 3, 2023
Highlighting The Women of Transit
March is Women's History Month, a celebration of women's contribution to history, culture, and society in contemporary culture. To celebrate this month, Regional Transit Service (RTS) hosted a workshop for women in the transit industry and to highlight their contributions and personal journeys in the male-dominated industry. In the United States, only 19.7% of managers in transportation are women (Zippa Inc., 2023). Meanwhile, more female riders are using public transportation at 5.2 percent compared to men at 4.7 percent (Burrows et al. 2009)
It is important to highlight women in the transit industry to be the voice of change and to support our female customers, a large percentage of transit users. Women must not only be at the table but also be contributors to the decisions that occur for public transportation. Some transit agencies have started female-led employee resource groups to give support to the female staff and to surround themselves with other women who work in transit.
Three female executives at GCRTA were chosen speakers at the Women in Transit Conference. They were India Birdsong Terry, CEO and General Manager, Kay Sutula, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Teresa Muti, Director of Power and Way. They were featured panelists for the Becoming Your Own Hero discussion. Each panel speaker discussed the obstacles of being a female leader in public transportation and becoming an advocate for themselves and other women in the industry.
From left: Kay Sutula, Director of Office Management and Budget, India Birdsong Terry, CEO, and General Manager and Teresa Muti, Director of Power and Way.
CEO and General Manager India Birdsong Terry, discussed how she felt being the CEO and General Manager of GCRTA and becoming a spokesperson for public transit. "Being a young woman, a woman of color is important in this industry in being the change your want to see." Also, "providing mobility for our community in particular, women, mothers and their families are essential to public transit."
Kay Sutula, Director of Office Management and Budget explained how important it is to have a support system to achieve professional goals. "It is important to surround yourself with people who challenge you and help you become the person you want to be."
Teresa Muti, Director of Power and way emphasized how women should feel proud in their achievements. Women should feel great that they reached their goals and benchmarks. "We as women should brag about our accomplishments. Why not?. We should be proud of what we do and support each other."
Burrows, M., Burd, C., McKenzie, B., (2019) Commuting by Public Transportation in the United States:2019. [online] Census.gov, American Community Survey Reports, [Apr 2021]. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2021/acs/acs-48.pdf
Zippa The Career Expert.Transportation Manager Demographics and Statistics. [online] Transportation Manager Demographics and Statistics. Zippa, inc., [9 Sept 2022]. https://www.zippia.com/transportation-manager-jobs/demographics/
Regional Transit System (2023), Women in Transit Conference. Summary. [31 Mar 2023]