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Women in Transportation

According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are more than 60 million women in the labor force today, yet women make up only 8 percent of engineers, 18 percent of engineering technicians, and 30 percent of natural scientists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that roughly 15 percent of the more than 9.1 million people working in transportation and material-moving occupations are women.

"Having diverse perspectives makes any team more effective, and the same goes for managing transportation assets," said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. Richards. "Women need to know that their perspectives are invaluable and the transportation industry is no different."

PennDOT WTS Executive Shadow Program

The Executive Shadow program is a joint venture by PennDOT and the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) that offers early to mid-level professionals the opportunity to apply to spend the day shadowing a PennDOT executive.

This program, unique among government transportation agencies, offers a potentially life-changing experience to those who express a sincere desire to learn more about the key role that PennDOT plays in the lives of every Pennsylvanian.

Moving Forward with STEM

PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian launched the "Moving Forward with STEM" event series in October 2021 at Slippery Rock University. The online panel discussion featured Gramian; Brenda Sandberg, executive director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority; and Alice Hammond, assistant district executive design for PennDOT, District 10.

Headshots of Brenda Sandberg, Yassmin Gramian and Alice Hammond, advertising the Moving Forward with STEM panel discussion.
View a recording of the Moving Forward with STEM panel discussion on YouTube.

Engaging with the next generation of STEM leaders is critical as we plan for a transportation future that is safer, more sustainable, and more equitable than the system we have today.

The series will bring together transportation leaders with college and high school students across Pennsylvania to discuss how to reimagine transportation, introduce safety innovations, and increase diversity and equity in transportation, government, and STEM fields. And I will share my own career story to encourage more women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM.

Moving Women Forward

In spring 2017, then-PennDOT Secretary Richards and First Lady Frances Wolf launched the Moving Women Forward Tour, a series of town hall-style events at institutions of higher learning across Pennsylvania, to speak directly with students and young professionals to encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers and leadership positions in transportation and government. To date, the tour has involved hundreds of leaders and students in State College, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Harrisburg, and the Lehigh Valley.

"It is such an honor to share my experiences and have these important discussions with students and professionals statewide," Sec. Richards said. "We need to continue driving home that diverse perspectives are valued and are of critical importance, and we hope that more women and minorities will consider joining the public service and transportation fields."

About Women and Minorities in the Workplace

  • According to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015 but held only 24 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math jobs.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of 2014, women made up approximately 50 percent of all public-sector employees, yet they held only 20 percent of leadership positions.
  • According to Catalyst, in 2017 women were nearly half (46.9%) of the labor force, but only 39.8 percent of women held a management position. The percentage of US businesses with at least one woman in senior management jumped from 69 percent in 2017 to 81 percent in 2018, but the percentage of senior roles held by women decreased from 23 percent to 21 percent.
  • According to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey & Company and, "At the first critical step up to manager…women are less likely to be hired into manager-level jobs, and they are far less likely to be promoted into them—for every one hundred men promoted to manager, seventy-nine women are. Largely because of these gender gaps, men end up holding 62 percent of manager positions, while women hold only 38 percent."
  • According to the Pew Research Center, eight-in-10 Americans say it is at least somewhat important to have racial and ethnic diversity in today's workplaces. However, the report found Blacks and Hispanics made up 27 percent of the overall U.S. workforce as of 2016, but together they accounted for only 16 percent of those employed in a STEM occupation, which in part was due to lack of access to high quality education to prepare them for these fields.
  • According to a report by NPR, in 2018, 121 women will serve in the 116th Congress, which is an increase from the 107 women in 2017. In addition, according to the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, a record number of women of color have been elected to the House of Representatives, 38. This year will also see the first Muslim women, first Native American women and the youngest woman (29) to serve in congress.


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is an integrated, interdisciplinary, and student-centered approach to learning that encourages curiosity, creativity, artistic expression, collaboration, communication, problem solving, critical thinking and design thinking.

STEM education in Pennsylvania is built on the following foundational beliefs:

  • All students are capable of STEM literacy;
  • Iteration and reflection are an important part of the STEM learning process;
  • STEM education transcends the classroom walls, integrating into the community;
  • STEM education success depends upon the partnership between educators, students, families, postsecondary providers, legislators, business and industry.

Since taking office, Governor Wolf has demonstrated a commitment to STEM education in the commonwealth. The Administration aims to increase enrollment in STEM-specific majors at state-supported postsecondary institutions by 10,000 by 2020. Between 2018 and 2026, STEM jobs will be growing at a rate of 9.1 percent annually, totaling approximately 190,000 new positions requiring STEM skills or content knowledge. Through 2026, occupations that include software developers will grow rapidly at a rate of 26 percent annually, while occupations that include engineering jobs will grow at a rate of 4 percent annually. Under Governor Wolf's leadership, Pennsylvania has made early and important progress in delivering more resources to schools and classrooms, and fostering collaborative, cross-sector dialogue to support STEM education, work-based learning, career pathways, and college access and completion.