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Women and Girls

Collage of Women in Transportation

Women in Transportation History

Since the founding of the United States, women have played an integral role in the development and advancement of transportation. From wagons and horse carts to bicycles, automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes and space vehicles, women have served as inventors, pilots, engineers, drivers, administrative professionals, conductors, executives and in a host of other vital occupations.

Today, increasing numbers of women are making a critical difference in the safe and efficient movement of people and goods here in America and throughout the world. The Department of Transportation salutes these pioneers – past, present and still to come.

Major Programmatic Activities

Establish an internship/mentorship program to entice more of the nation's young talent to enter into transportation-related careers and garner practical experience.

Conduct town hall meetings and roundtable discussions for small women-owned transportation contractors to identify and develop the types of technical and financial assistance that are supportive of the needs of women to better position them to become more successful transportation-related businesses.  The training will also be available to students, particularly those who aspire to become entrepreneurs.

Develop case studies to highlight issues of interest to existing and emerging small women-owned transportation-related businesses. The purpose of the case studies is to discuss and analyze issues that impact women-owned transportation-related businesses and explore possible solutions for successful outcomes.

Cesar Chavez Program

Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy 11th grade girls, who traveled from their Capitol Hill and Parkside campuses for their school’s required fellowship program at the DOT, recently graduation from the 3-week program.

Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy 11th grade girls, who traveled from their Capitol Hill and Parkside campuses for their school’s required fellowship program at the DOT, recently graduation from the 3-week program.  Their experience began with a one week orientation in April, and they returned in June for two weeks of practical work experience and opportunities to learn important life skills.  Host sponsor volunteers from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Highways Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Research Innovation and Technology Administration took students under their wings and helped them learn about such things as bridge technology, NCI Charrette public involvement techniques, and that long meetings lead to important missions that make our travel more convenient and safe.

Additional activities guided students to gain a better understanding of the world of work while gaining life skills that will encourage future success academically, professionally and personally.   Supportive life skills activities included an alcohol awareness activity with line-dancing instruction, “Budget Basics that Make Cents” workshop, Resume Writing and Interviewing Skills seminar, Teen Panel for DOT Parents of Teens, and a personal safety and self defense class.  The students’ 3-week experience culminated with a graduation celebration on June 18th.

Not only did this experience help these young ladies fulfill a very important part of their 11th grade school requirement, it reminded DOT employees that bridging communities together and uniting experiences fosters opportunities for all of us to learn.

Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative (WITI)

On March 11, 2009, President Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls. The council seeks to ensure that federal agencies address the needs of women and girls. As part of this effort, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood launched the Entrepreneurial Women and Girls Internship Program in July 2010. We now call the program the Women in Transportation Initiative (WITI). The goal of WITI is to increase the participation of women in the US transportation industry.

The DOT Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and its 11 regional offices administer WITI. WITI gives young women the chance to gain first-hand experience in a variety of areas within the industry.

WITI seeks to:

  • Identify challenges for women in the transportation industry; address those challenges; and improve the status quo.
  • Educate participants on the exciting opportunities available in the transportation industry; and inspire them to enter the science, engineering, and technology fields.
  • Attract participants into transportation related fields through the WITI Program and its partner organizations.
  • Retain female WITI participants in the transportation industry.
  • Serve as a resource to all WITI participants regarding information about the transportation industry.

Learn more about the Women and Girls Transportation Initiative (WITI).

Last updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2016