6 Feb 2024

Spotlight on women in the mobility sector

Karlsruhe: Home of IT-TRANS - and the capital of female empowerment

D, E&I - "diversity, equality and inclusion" - is the formula for equal opportunities and participation, particularly in a professional context. Today, we’re focusing on gender equality at IT-TRANS and why Karlsruhe, as the location of the exhibition and conference for intelligent solutions in public transport, plays a pioneering role.

Both IT-TRANS and its organizer, Messe Karlsruhe, are guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, including point 5 "Gender Equality" and point 10 "Reduced Inequalities". Furthermore, in November 2023, Messe Karlsruhe achieved gold standard accreditation from EMAS – the world's most demanding environmental management system.

Co-organizer UITP, the world association for urban public transport, is also focusing on greater visibility for women speakers at the conference and is now led by a female president for the first time: Renée Amilcar, General Manager of OC TRANSPO in Ottawa, Canada.

Women and men are both pillars of the industry and, therefore, our international exhibition and conference, too. As such, they should be given equal opportunity to share their expertise with the trade audience. However, the goal of achieving greater visibility goes far beyond IT-TRANS. That’s why we’re grateful that our partner, the Women in Mobility network, has taken on this mammoth, ongoing task, which includes hosting a networking meeting for industry professionals on the second day of the event in Karlsruhe.

A question of perspective

So why is the visibility and expertise of women particularly important in the mobility sector? Because they not only play a major role professionally – think technicians, streetcar drivers, sales experts, software developers, communication professionals and operations managers – but also have a very different perspective on public mobility than their male colleagues. As women often play a key role as caregivers, they use public transport differently: they notice the hurdles that their disabled grandma faces when visiting the doctor, they see isolated, poorly lit stops as a potential threat and they know how difficult it is for a mother with a pram and toddler to use a tram during rush hour. These insights are worthy of note!

Karlsruhe: co-host of the most important digital award for women

Karlsruhe has hosted the Digital Female Leader Awards (DFLA), the most important prize on the female digital scene, since 2023. The event, organized by Global Digital Women (GDW) and co-hosted by the City of Karlsruhe and Messe Karlsruhe, honours successful women in the digital economy, including in the "Mobility" category. Initiated seven years ago by Tijen Onaran and her company GDW, the award will this year become DFLX, the Digital Female Leader X-Change: with the prize-giving ceremony and accompanying workshops set to become a platform for networking and knowledge exchange.

What does all this have to do with IT-TRANS? That’s an easy question to answer: the DFLA is inspirational proof that digitalization and women are a perfect match, and that Karlsruhe plays a strategic pioneering role when it comes to providing a stage for female thought leaders!