Gender Bias Still Exists, Students Need Support for Career Success

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WTS International, the association for the advancement of women in the transportation industry, is on a mission to educate college students about the benefits of joining the professional association now. The campaign was created with a dual purpose: to generate awareness about the plethora of viable career opportunities available in the transportation industry, and to support the nation’s current and future infrastructure, which is relying on associations like WTS for workforce development. Now, with the recent Yale research study results on gender bias, the timing couldn’t be better.

Nearly 50% of public sector employees will be eligible to retire in 2013. We must do our part to impress upon students—especially young women—the opportunities that lay before them.

A Yale University research project has delivered results disheartening to those who have otherwise believed that with the rising numbers of women enrolled in college, their rates of academic success, and the overall push to get young women involved in STEM studies (science, technology, engineering, and math), issues of gender bias would be problems of the past.

According to an article in Popular Science magazine, then further discussed in The New York Times “...Science faculty see female students as less competent than their male counterparts, and it could cost them jobs, a fair salary, and mentoring opportunities.”

The results are given in the Popular Science article, and with this type of bias still penetrating college campuses, the need to help young women start a career out of the gate with advantages like a mentor and professional network of contacts has never been more critical.

With its sights set on workforce development, WTS International, the association for the advancement of women in the transportation industry, is on a mission to educate college students about the benefits of joining the professional association now. The membership drive was created with a dual purpose: to generate awareness about the plethora of viable career opportunities available in the transportation industry, and to support the nation’s current and future infrastructure, which is relying on associations like WTS for workforce development. Now, with the recent Yale research study results on gender bias, the timing couldn’t be better.

The decision to focus a membership awareness campaign on college campuses was driven by several factors, including many industry discussions about the future of the US infrastructure, President Obama’s “Win the Future” initiative, current unemployment rates, and the high number of open positions within the transportation industry for skilled and experienced management roles.

Despite current unemployment rates, job vacancies in transportation continue to rise.

“Twenty percent of the workforce is at retirement age, and a disproportionate number of career beginners are entering the workforce with the right educational background and experience for the transportation industry. What’s more—nearly 50% of public sector employees will be eligible to retire in 2013. We must do our part to impress upon students—especially young women—the opportunities that lay before them. Our doors are open to students in an attempt to help them gain an advantage on networking and professional development through WTS,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS International President and CEO. “This drive for both female and male college students was created to enlighten those enrolled in STEM studies who may not have even considered opportunities in transportation, as well as those already working toward that goal. Whether this campaign brings in those who already have their sights set on transportation or those first discovering the potential in both the public and private sectors, helping to develop our future workforce via membership brings us closer to WTS’s mission,” Ferranto added.

For more information, visit http://www.WTSinternational.org or email membership(at)wtsinternational(dot)org.

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WTS International, headquartered in Washington, DC, is committed to Advancing Women in Transportation through expanding existing scholarship opportunities to women pursuing transportation related degrees, providing and promoting more educational opportunities and career development to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation, and initiating, sponsoring and publishing research related to advancing women in transportation. More information can be found at http://www.WTSinternational.org.

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Marcia Ferranto
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