Violence against women transport workers: ETF study reveals the facts

25 Nov 2017

On the occasion of the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2016, the ETF launched an online survey about workplace violence against women transport workers in Europe. The number of responses, and the shocking stories they contained, reveals the unacceptable scale of violence against women in our sector.  

The aim of the survey was to collect data and evidence about workplace violence against women. It targeted women workers from all transport sectors and was open until 28 February 2017. During the 3-month period more than 1400 women transport workers from across Europe responded and shared their experiences.  

The key outcomes of the survey reveal: 

  • Alarming evidence of high levels of violence against women transport workers across Europe. 
  • Shocking accounts of verbal threats, intimidation and sexual harassment, as well as incidents of both sexual and physical assault against women transport workers 
  • Violence is regularly seen to be part of the job” and is rarely a one-time event. 
  • 63% of the respondents have experienced at least one recent act of violence. 
  • 25% of the respondents believe that violence against women is a regular occurrence in the transport sector. 
  • 26% of the respondents believe that harassment is considered to be “part of the job” in transport. 

On basis of the survey outcomes, Dr Jane Pillinger compiled a report. Dr Pillinger is a renowned researcher on the topic of gender equality and has worked amongst others for the International Labour Organisation and for the European Trade Union Confederation. 

The ETF report on workplace violence against women transport workers is the first of its kind. It documents a pervasive culture of sexual harassment and sexual intimidation in the workplace. Women working in the sector are often subject to repeated, hostile and offensive verbal, non-verbal and physical forms of violence, including sexual harassment. 

Supplementary report with comments from women transport workers 

As our survey prompted such an extensive range of comments from women transport workers, ETF decided to draw these comments together into a single document. This new report shows the alarming extent of violence against women transport workers, while also offering first-hand accounts of the harassment women face. 

The report presents two types of violence: 

  1. Violence and harassment against women by colleagues, managers and supervisors 
  2. Violence and harassment against women by customers 

 The supplementary report brings together the written comments of more than 300 women transport workers from all sectors who responded to the ETF’s survey. The testimonies were selected on the basis that they were both relevant to, and are a reflection of, the responses given in the survey. They are identified by transport sector and country of work.