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Glass Ceiling

In October 2010, the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS-SF) embarked on a research mission to determine whether women working within the transportation industry in the Bay Area face a "glass ceiling" and, if so, what programs and policies could be advocated by WTS-SF in order to help mitigate the "glass ceiling effect."

The WTS-SF Glass Ceiling Task Force has since published three reports in 2012, 2014, and 2016

In 2016 WTS-DC, in partnership with WTS-Baltimore and WTS-Central Virginia, released its baseline study on the  Greater Washington, DC Region. 


Women in the Greater New York Transportation Industry: A Baseline Study for Future Benchmarking of Women in Leadership Roles

March 2019

Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) is working to investigate, expose and mitigate the glass ceiling effect on women in transportation. The goal of WTS is to create opportunities for women to shatter the “glass ceiling” through educational and professional development programs, networking opportunities, and strong and effective mentorship programs. Given the challenges facing women in male-dominated disciplines, several WTS chapters, including Washington District of Columbia and San Francisco, have created Glass Ceiling task forces to ascertain whether the trends that have been noticeable internationally were mirrored in their local geographical areas. The mission of these task forces is to identify barriers to women’s growth in the transportation field and offer recommendations for successfully turning the tide in favor of women.

In 2016, the WTS Greater New York (WTS-GNY) chapter, which includes New York and New Jersey, created a Glass Ceiling Committee (GCC) to review and quantify the challenges faced by women in their region. The WTS-GNY GCC is comprised of women from private sector companies and public entities. This report summarizes the results of a literature review and survey of relevant demographic profiles, policies, and programs and provides case studies and recommended practices.

In 2017, WTS-GNY sent a survey to public government entities, public corporations, private corporations, and non-profit organizations in the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Out of the 162 employers that received the survey, 29 responded, representing a response rate of 18%. Two responses were excluded from result summary.
  • On average, women comprised 20% of employees.
  • 13 participating organizations had 30% or less of senior-level positions and twelve mid-level positions filled by women.
  • Only six organizations had a 50-50 gender split at the senior level. Five of these same organizations had a 50% or better representation of women in mid-level positions.
  • Only nine participating organizations had a mentoring program. An average of 40% of participants in those mentoring programs were women.
  • While 17 of participating organizations have an affirmative action plan, only 14 conducted diversity training and 12 have dedicated staff overseeing their diversity efforts.
  • Most (19) of participating organizations did not have a women’s network group or committee. The eight that did were evenly split between public and private sector.
  • The survey asked respondents how often seven issues were raised in their recruiting and/or exit interviews. The top three issues raised "often" were: (1) compensation; (2) flexible work schedules; and (3) work culture.

Click on cover below to read the full report: 



Do you want to share a comment about the report or get involved in the next round of research? Email us at wtsgny@gmail.com with the subject Glass Ceiling. 

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