Women transport workers discuss the impacts of digitalisation and automation on female employment

23 Oct 2019

Within the scope of ETF’s “ETF Automation & Digitalisation Toolkit (EADT)” project, women transport workers and trade union representatives from across the EU met on 9-10 October 2019 in Stockholm to discuss the impacts of digitalisation on female employment and skills in the transport sector.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to a discussion with Project Researcher, Lionel Fulton (Labour Research Department) on the draft toolkit being developed within the framework of the project. On-the-ground experiences were shared and the draft toolkit was analysed from the perspective of women transport workers.

The second day gave us more insight into the specific priorities of women transport workers regarding automation and digitalisation. Claire Clarke (ITF Women’s department) kicked things off with a presentation on the ITF’s priorities regarding the future of work and the research on how these changes impact women in public transport. This was followed by a presentation from Jaine Peacock (Unite the Union) on the opportunities for new forms of work brought about by technological change.

Discussions showed that digitalisation and automation are affecting a multitude of transport jobs in all sectors. However, jobs carried out by women are particularly at risk due to automation and digitalisation which threaten to deepen existing gender inequalities in the workplace even further.

Indeed, participants stressed that women transport workers’ concerns in regard to the future of work in transport must be taken into close consideration during discussions in trade unions, in the workplace, at government level, and at EU level. Women transport workers must gain access to the training and skills necessary to benefit from the new jobs being created. As negotiations with employers and companies are the most effective way to address and mitigate the effects of automation on work and working conditions, a strong gender dimension will be essential to address the needs and interests of women transport workers.

As a result, the project researcher was tasked by participants to carefully consider and address the way women are affected by these changes in order to develop the right tools to empower women transport workers to tackle these challenges head-on.



The workshop was organised within the framework of the ETF project “ETF Automation & Digitalisation Toolkit (EADT)”, co-funded by the EU, which aims to address the changes in the transport sector caused by automation and digitalisation. This project will develop concrete tools to address the challenges caused by automation and digitalisation for European transport workers and is dedicated to the ETF-affiliated transport unions. Further project workshops for water transport, land transport, civil aviation and young workers will be organised in the coming months.