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Voi discusses gender equity and e-scooters at the ITF conference, Leipzig

Voi discusses gender equity and e-scooters at the ITF conference, Leipzig

It has only been a week since we published our “Shared e-scooters and gender equity” report, which we collaborated on with Women in Transport and public affairs agency JFG Communications. At the launch of this in-depth piece of research, which took place at the UK House of Commons, Jo Field, President of Women in Transport said: “We can’t consider women’s voices to be heard until they have actually been acted upon”. 

We were delighted, therefore, that in Germany last week, at the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) Conference 2022 in Leipzig on ‘Transport for Inclusive Societies’ we had an opportunity to share the platform, and our on-going commitment, on these all-important gender issues, as well as many others. 

In Germany we are also proud to have a strong female presence at Voi, and indeed we are presently the only all-women policy team at Voi. It was, therefore, 

Neele Reimann-Philipp, our Senior Public Policy Manager DACH, who represented us on the panel discussion on ‘Bringing everyone abroad: fostering access for all’. 

The panel of experts 

In order to move the gender equity debate forward with real actions, it is important to keep collaborating with changemaking experts in the field, which is why it was an honour for Neele to share this platform with the following esteemed people: 

Bronwen Thornton, CEO at Walk21 Foundation, Chair of the Board for the Sustainable Low Carbon Transport Foundation (SLOCAT), a member of our own Voi Global Safety Council and Voi Gender Equity Commission; Clarisse Cunha Linke, an award-winning expert in planning and implementing social policies and programmes, particularly in Brazil, Mozambique, and Namibia; Benacer Boulaajoul, General Director of the new National Road Safety Agency in Morocco, and Constantin Grosch, a highly recognised activist for the rights of people with disabilities in Germany. 

Hearing strong voices on equity and inclusivity in transport

The session was moderated by Guineng Chen from ITF, who skilfully navigated the panellists’ contributions on which big issues still need to be addressed in the transport sectors around the globe when it comes to equity. And there are, without doubt, many issues. Our own Neele Reimann-Philipp spoke eloquently on how we must and can close the gender gap in micromobility saying, for example:

“Collaboration is crucial if we are to address the gaping holes in terms of gender equality in mobility. Although female ridership has increased since 2018, it remains comparatively low across our markets – at 28% in 2021. We need to ask ourselves: Why is our service less attractive to women and what can we as an operator do to make it more attractive for women? At Voi, we are committed to the process of universal design, which means engaging as many stakeholders as possible.” 

Our latest Voiager 5 design, is an example of such pioneering inclusive design, featuring a more ergonomic handlebar where the brakes, indicator switch and bell are accessible to the average woman’s hand size. 

Bronwen Thornton pointed out that, when you look at the big picture, “73% of all trips globally are done by foot” and that “walking is still the main form of transport and it needs to be accepted as such. Cities need to be designed accordingly”. 

Clarisse Cunha Linke highlighted the differences between continents when it comes to addressing equitable urban landscapes, saying that, “By continent, the challenges change. Such as the time it takes you to reach important infrastructure. In Europe we talk about 15-minute city design. In Brazil, reaching a hospital and therewith access to the health system can take up to two hours. Same goes for education. Much more ambitious plans for some regions of the world are, therefore, needed than for others.” 

Constantin Grosch addressed social justice for all people to achieve access for all. Aligning with our own Micromobility for All report, published in June 2021, he stated that “not all parts of society are included in city planning. This has to change.” We totally agree with Constantin when he says that “people with disabilities also need to be seen by public and private sectors as customers”. 

International Transport Forum (ITF) 

We are grateful for the ongoing drive by the ITF to close the gender gap in the transport sector as a whole and for inviting us to be a delegate at this important event. The ITF’s role is crucial in creating change and we are thrilled, therefore, that they are also a member of our Gender Equity Commission, which analysed and made recommendations on the gender equity research that we commissioned, as mentioned above. 

We are also honoured to have joined the Corporate Partnership Board of the ITF in 2021, working with other companies from all transport modes to inform and support policymakers in solving transport challenges. Among many proactive actions regarding gender equity, is the ITF’s recent toolkit which aims to help countries conduct gender analysis that will inform policy and also engender top level dialogue. 

Voi and Women in Mobility

Another step on our roadmap to inclusivity in Germany, is our ongoing work with Women in Mobility. This is a German network aiming to not only increase the amount of women working in mobility but also to increase awareness and foster change concerning many issues women face when it comes to navigating our towns and cities. In particular, we aim to organise joint safety events for women in our German cities this year, both on-line and in person, as well as night-time safety events. We hope that these will empower women to ride confidently at night, and that the industry will continue to listen to and, most importantly, act upon their needs and concerns.