Verona Murphy has been appointed a Diversity Ambassador by the EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc. She also joined a high-level workshop on inclusive and gender balanced leadership for 21st century transport in Brussels.
Ms Murphy, a bye-election candidate in Wexford and President of the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA), said: “It is excellent to meet with women leading in the transport industry from around Europe to discuss how we can promote better gender balance in the industry across the European Union.
“Women only make up 22pc of the European transport workforce – which lags way behind other industries. Having a balanced workforce is widely recognised as having positive effects both on companies and on the wider sector, so we as an industry are missing a trick when it comes to the lack of women at the table.
“I believe one of the most important things we can do to change this trend is to ensure that stereotypes about the transport sector – whether that is haulage, public transport or aviation. We need to teach our girls from a young age that these are viable and rewarding career options for them.
“When I started in the transport industry, I was only 17 years old, too young to identify a gender gap. But as the years went on and I went from working for someone to starting my own haulage company, I realised just how scarce woman were in the frontline driving end of things.
“When I became President of the IRHA, I began to understand that the perception of road haulage was that it was not a job for women and I decided to use my knowledge to set about creating a more positive image and bring a female perspective to it.
“Research has shown to date that where there is an equal gender balance, the working environment is much happier and more productive.
“Companies engaging in diversity are finding their customers have a much more positive attitude, and it’s my hope to build upon that attitude until we reach a place where it’s forgotten that road haulage and truck driving was once thought of as a man’s job.
“For my part I will be making a renewed effort to ensure that we are doing more to champion women in our field in Ireland and I would call on Transport Minister Shane Ross to identify a cohesive policy on how we can promote more women in transport,” Ms. Murphy concluded.