Monday, August 8, 2011

IV. The Female Quotient: Next steps on World Streets - Leadership Profiles

After the first article in this series appeared in these pages on July 27th, more than fifty people from a dozen countries responded with suggestions and nominations for profiles of outstanding women who through their work, character and originality are, quite literally, shaping and re-shaping the transportation agenda. Based on that strong response, their quality and the evident interest in the topic, we have decided to see if we can work with those making these nominations to provide a series of leadership profiles to improve the international visibility concerning the contributions that women are making in the field at all the key levels involved.

Women shaping the future of transport in cities:  Next steps on World Streets

Here are the proposed next steps:

1. Prepare Leadership Profiles for publication: These hold the key at the next stage.
• To appear in World Streets – But also open for free use and republication under Creative Commons
• 300 – 800 words of nicely laid out balanced text making the key points, with picture of nominee, and perhaps another picture or graphic to help ram home the point of her originality, force of character and accomplishments.
• What is important here is not the great CV but her efforts,  accomplishments and unflagging determination to break the stasis of an unfair, uneconomic, underperforming sector in distress.
• Plus a few key references and URLs that will help the reader who wishes to dig deeper.
• Aiming, why not?, for weekly publication on W/S, always on the same day.

2 Profile Authors: World Streets will work with the project as editors, the idea being that individual profiles to be prepared by contributing authors. Quite possibly those nominating the candidate, but possibly other.
• Guidelines for contributors:
• Links to Wikipedia profile. (What, no WP profile on our great candidate? But WP is the first-stop shop for anyone looking for more on any outstanding personality. Don't you think that we should either annotate her existing profile, or if one is not there use our article as the base for one. )
• What about the review routine, once we have a strong draft? Wouldn't it be an idea to have each reviewed and commented, and perhaps improved, by at least one knowledgeable person.
• Invite Comments from colleagues and others to be posted on W/S with the original profile.

3. Short essays by nominees? We see this as the other half of the profile. We warmly invite each nominee to share with our readers a few lines (or more) summing up her thoughts as to why there are not more women shaping policy in the field in terms of actual investments and programs. Are there specific reasons for this lag in her country or field? What might be done about it? Is there any form of operational or de facto network in which women leaders and their supporters can get together on these issues. As you can imagine with profiles coming in from places as diverse as North American and the leading edge cities of Western Europe, to India, South Africa, and Egypt, these short essays are going to combine to help us all deepen our understanding of problems, barriers and ways around them.

4. Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice. We have decided with John Whitelegg, founding editor of WTPP,  to collaborate on a special edition on this topic, publication: Spring of 2012. Working title is " Sustainable Transport in Cities: Who says that women are not leading the charge?" More information on work plan, contents, etc. to appear on World Streets in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we continue to receive and process nominations as they come in, of which selected profiles will be featured in the WTPP report.

5. Networking: Facebook Group, Just set up at Goal is for the group to define itself. Please react, suggest, bring in other members who share our concerns and interests. And if you have questions or wish to talk any of this over get in touch

6. Conferences: Still to be finalized but the idea is to organize several conferences and events, of which the first under discussion is the 2012 Congress of the Cities for Mobility program in Stuttgart, from 1 – 3 July. There will surely be others.

7. Videos/films: Several under discussion

8. World Streets on gender equality:

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If the authors agree, I vote we go slow with the first couple of profiles to make sure that we have a format and style which is going to do the job that needs to be done. If we can work up a strong template, that is certainly going to make everything that follows considerably easier. If you might be interested in lending a hand in this early review and commenting stage, it would be great to hear from you

We are very pleased concerning this decision about the Leadership Profiles and look forward to seeing how this works with all those of you who cared enough to make a nomination.

But at the same time we intend to continue our long-standing campaign aimed at bringing much larger numbers of women into all levels the planning and decision process, as opposed to their present egregious under-representation and often marginalization as a result of working in small numbers in heavily male-dominated fora. To some this may appear to be quixotic or even unnecessary. We do not think so.

So looking forward to getting the working draft of the first of these profiles and to getting this new program into gear.

Eric Britton, Editor

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