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Voi takes lead on gender equity in micromobility with new research project 

Woman in red on a Voi scooter

In order to help close the gender equality gap in micromobility, we are working in close collaboration with Women in Transport, a UK non-profit organisation that empowers women to work in transport and maximise their potential. We were proud to be the first micromobility organisation to join Women in Transport and, as part of this collaboration, we are working together on a research project to understand gender disparity in e-scooter usage.

The research will allow Voi to take the necessary steps to address any existing challenges, with the ultimate goal of supporting our mission to transform urban transport and provide an inclusive transport mode for everyone, to reduce congestion, noise and pollution. You can take part in Women In Transport’s online Focus Groups, with the survey being run later in the autumn to explore women’s perceptions of shared e-scooters.

Women on Voi e-scooter and Voi e-bike in Cambridge, UK

Informed by this research, a set of recommendations will be decided by a commission of experts, including Founder & Managing Director of Open Inclusion, Christine Hemphill. By working together with these organisations, we believe that micromobility can move the needle in the right direction to help close the gender equality gap in the transport sector. From employment to empowerment, expense to exposure, there are many issues that need to be addressed to ensure women are very much part of this new movement in sustainable transport.

Jo Field, President of Women in Transport says: “We’re delighted to have Voi join us in our mission to achieve equality in the transport industry and ensure that transport – as old as the bicycle or as new as e-scooters – is made more accessible and inclusive for everyone. A lack of women’s voices and perspectives informing and making decisions in transport is holding us back. We’re glad that Voi has started this vital research to ensure women’s voices are heard, and to set out how shared e-scooters can better meet women’s diverse needs. We hope this approach can offer a model to address other inequalities in transport.”

Products that cater for and reassure women

With regards to employment, women make up 47% of the UK workforce yet remain underrepresented in the transport sector accounting for only 20% of workers. At Voi, we are determined to help change this narrative, not only by creating more work opportunities for women, but also by creating micromobility products that cater for and reassure women.

We know that shared e-scooters are transforming urban transport. As well as providing new mobility opportunities for individuals, they have the potential to help ease congestion, noise and pollution if swapped for car journeys. However, it is only by striving to make micromobility accessible to all groups of society, be it through education, technology or infrastructure, that we achieve truly sustainable transformation.

Micromobility for all

According to the International Transport Forum’s Transport’s report, Micromobility, Equity and Sustainability, “policy needs to shift from a focus on moving people and goods farther and faster to one focused on accessibility through reliability, quality and proximity, serving all people, with a focus on those most poorly served, whether it be because of location, income, gender, physical or cognitive impairment.”

One of the first steps we have taken to address issues of gender equality in micromobility, and inclusion as a whole, is commissioning an in-depth report, by French research experts 6T. This report, entitled Micromobility for All was commissioned to help us understand what’s needed to make micromobility more inclusive.

 

When I joined the transport sector, micromobility was in a nascent phase and seemed like a big, bold bet. The industry lured me in with its driving force: sustainability, preserving our beautiful cities, and the promise to revolutionise transportation. Gender diversity is important in all industries, but in transport specifically, it is multi-faceted; on the one hand, we need to encourage and nourish gender diversity from an employment standpoint, and on the other, we need to ensure we attract a well-diversified customer base by catering to their varying needs. Making transport more inclusive for all genders and sexual orientations is a fundamental necessity.” – Nour Rasamny, Senior Operations Manager, UK

Our report, as well as user surveys, show that women are underrepresented among e-scooter users, with only 30% of Voi riders identifying as female. The report discussed reasons for this gender gap which are both insightful and important to address. They include the following reasons: women are more risk averse and prefer to use secured, separated cycle lanes; women still carry out an unequal share of domestic tasks making e-scooter transport less practical; women are more likely than men to suffer from ‘transport poverty’, saving their resources for household expenses.

Urban design must cater for women

This gender gap is not exclusive to e-scooters, it is also an issue in cycling. According to Sustrans, the UK’s leading charity to promote cycling and walking, as well as being custodians of the National Cycle Network, 76% of UK women never cycle. In addition, their research shows that 36% of those who don’t cycle say that they would like to, if they felt safe. As a leading micromobility provider working in partnership with councils and local authorities to create greener infrastructure and accessible urban design, it is vital that we specifically lobby for the design of cities for women. In short this means that transport infrastructure should be safe, protected from traffic, accessible to their residential areas and adequately lit.

I have lost count of the amount of times I have felt unsafe walking alone. But with the e-scooters you aren’t worrying about who is walking behind you or who is coming towards you and about to pass you. I definitely get a sense of pride when I see another woman riding a Voi e-scooter at night and knowing that she must be feeling the same thing.” – Zayna, female mechanic in Voi’s warehouse in Liverpool.

Even though the pandemic saw an increase in women cycling as part of their daily exercise, according to CoMoUK’s Bike Share Survey in 2020 the percentage of female bike share users was 44%, a figure that was going down rather than up. Addressing the safety of women in urban environments is of course key to closing the gender gap, as we seek ways to empower women when choosing a means of transport. One action to support this has been our signing up to London’s Women’s Night Time Safety Charter, where we pledge to put in place a number of measures that tackle violence against women. In addition to this new research, we are committed to supporting a significant swing in the number of women who can try and trust e-transport.

Nathan Ashley, Senior Public Policy Manager, Voi Technology UK, Ireland and Benelux, says: Social equity is one of the major pillars of our sustainability policy at Voi, and respecting the needs of all citizens, irrespective of gender, is the only way for us to drive forward a transformation in urban transport. As part of our roadmap towards creating a truly inclusive industry, we are committing to providing a service that caters for women whilst contributing to reducing the current underrepresented in the transport sector. This research and collaboration with Women in Transport supports us in our mission to be both proactive and reactive when it comes to inclusivity.”

Book your online Focus Group with Women in Transport.

Woman riding Voi e-scooter

 

 

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