As Women’s Month celebrations continue in South Africa, the national department of transport is hosting the Summit for Women in Transport at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg.
The three-day Summit that began on Thursday will end on 23.
Women have been encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities available in the transport sector, South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.
Speaking at the opening of the, Peters urged women to make the most of the opportunities they had in the country’s growing transport sector as government invests R12.5 billion on non-toll road networks and builds the R573 highway.
The summit, themed “Transport Sector, Moving Women Empowerment and Transformation Forward” is taking place in Boksburg, Johannesburg, and runs from August 20-23.
Peters said the country’s transport sector was growing, with more opportunities than ever before for women in the sector. In addition to other investments, Peters noted that government would invest R19 billion in the integrated public transport networks of the Bus Rapid Transit over the next few years, while Transnet would be investing more than R300 billion to improve rail and ports infrastructure.
Peters noted that during the 2013/14 financial year, the Department of Transport had “invested over R100 billion in a skills development programme.”
The result of these training interventions that were delivered and targeted at youth and women enabled them to “take (on) the potential thousands of job opportunities in the global maritime sector”.
“Ninety-three young unemployed engineering graduates were given the opportunity to convert from mechanical engineering to marine engineering,” Peters said.
In the same year, the air traffic navigation services trained more than 700 internal students at a pass rate of 93 percent within the air traffic services as well as in the engineering disciplines of which 42 percent were female, she added.
Peters emphasised that while a lot still needed to be done to address gender equality issues, “women have a role to play in these mega projects”.
She also called on the taxi industry to transform to enable women to enter the industry.
“One of examples of barriers to entry into the transport industry would be the challenge that faces women in entering the taxi industry. Although the taxi industry has boomed since the advent of democracy, very limited gains have been made in terms of women involvement,” she said.
October is transport month in SA.