A Women and Gender Audit(conducted by the Gender & Development Unit for the National Department of Transport): 01 February 2008 – 31 December 2008
Aims of DOT Audit Women and Gender Audit aims to provide a comprehensive audit of women’s involvement and participation in the transport sector in South Africa. The South African Network for Women in Transport’s (SANWIT) highlighted numerous structural and systematic barriers confronting women as employees and entrepreneurs in Transport. The aim of the DoT Audit is firstly to determine the status quo with respect to women in the transport sector, including skills, career aspirations and barriers. Secondly, to ascertain limiting factors to transport by civil society. The results of the study will assist the DoT in addressing gender imbalances and inform future gender responsive transport planning and projects. The Audit is comprised of three activities: (1) literature review; (2) Internal Audit of the Department; (3) External Audit of the Department
Key Link to Government Policy • Chapter 2 of the Constitution focusing on the Bill of Rights that makes provision in section 9 (subsections 3 & 4) for equality. Equality is a non-derogable right. • 9 (3): “The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds including race, gender, sex….” • 9(4): “No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection 3.
Literature The literature review explores the need to address women’s specific gender transport requirements as reflected by their multiple roles and responsibilities. The four roles that women play in the SA transport sector are: as users, as consultants/participants, as service providers and as employees, which forms the foundation for the DoT Audit. The geographical location of women in SA society and the relevance of transport in their lives is investigated. Access, availability, appropriateness and affordability of transport modes can either eradicate or worsen the disadvantages linked to women’s roles in society. These aspects are highlighted for their salience to transport stakeholders such as planners, policy makers and providers. There is a focus on Department of Transport (DoT) policies that have significance for women transport employees (these are: recruitment & selection; HR development strategy (2003-2006); Sexual Harassment Policy; HIV/AIDS Policy’ Draft Employment Equity Plan (2006-2008).
Preliminary Findings: Internal Audit In general, provision in terms of the budget is made for a total of 680 posts at a national level but only 72,5% (493) of posts are filled whilst 27,5% (187) of posts remain vacant. The greatest number of posts that require to be filled are in the upper echelons: namely post levels 13-16 where 65, 7% are filled and 34,3% need to be filled largely by female candidates (39 posts). African female employees, age group 30-60 years, in the upper echelons openly revealed that if opportunities availed themselves outside of the DOT, they would resign. In general, women in the upper employment levels did not have career aspirations in transport and a few cited the view that upward mobility was problematic in the department because of a lack of opportunities for career-paths. Women employees, in particular Africans in upper employment levels were unhappy and demotivated and feeling demoralised. A lack of job satisfaction at the DoT appeared to have a direct link to employee well-being and the retention of employees.
Findings continued Having to fulfill the roles of mother and provider whilst being disabled is economically, emotionally and physically challenging for female employees with disabilities. Female employees felt that there was a need for the DoT to distinguish between the public work domain and the private family domain as any overlap creates tensions in the home environment. Female and a few male employees commented on a host of reasons that they perceived as barriers to the advancement of women in the transport sector. Barriers can be differentiated along the lines of being either organizational or socio-cultural. In terms of social barriers there appears to be a firm belief by women across all employment levels that there is a lack of recognition and value for the work that women do by other women who are their superiors and men in general. Organisationally, it appears that there is inadequate support/ scaffolding to assist women to grow and perform within the organizational structures of the DoT.
Preliminary Findings: External Audit (n = 1000 across SA’s 9 provinces) Women dominate travel via non-motorised methods. More than 50% of respondents travel for the purpose of household shopping. In general, 87,04% respondents were of the opinion that public transport is affordable but they have no or limited access due to their geographic location, hence the use of non-motorised means. 82,94% stated that a bus service is available when needed. Those who complained about availability cited reasons such as there being insufficient buses in number, overcrowding, and a failure to arrive at the scheduled time in addition to being slow. 99,44% of the participants travelling by taxis were African.
Some recommendations The need exists to attract more disabled candidates to the DoT which can possibly be fast-tracked by consulting organisations that are specifically for the disabled and to initiate strategic relationships that will feed into various employment possibilities within the DoT at present and for future needs. Increase the construction of roads in rural areas so that buses and taxis can infiltrate and offer a much needed and relatively affordable service. A key priority must be safe, affordable public transport . Local authorities need to introduce categories of fares; where there are concessions especially for multiple trips, for rural areas, for scolars and for the elderly. Transport Services must be frequent in peak periods to prevent overcrowding. The introduction of a transport call centre for the public which has updates on all public transport networks and can thus plan a journey using multiple transport modes between cities/towns.