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What It’s Like to Be a Woman in Transportation (And Why It Matters)

A new zine from a top transit nonprofit explores not just why the needs of women need to be at the center of U.S. transit planning, but what it's actually like for gender-marginalized people who are working to change the status quo — in their own words, images, and even songs.

In their unconventional and inspiring new publication, Subtext, editors Stephanie Lotshaw and Ashley Pryce of the nonprofit Transit Center sought to provide a new platform for the women and nonbinary people who keep our transportation networks running by looking beyond the stats and white papers and letting leaders speak about their experiences in whatever mediums they chose.

Still, those stats are sobering. A majority of transit riders today (55 percent) are women, but a shocking 83 percent of U.S. agencies are helmed by men — and women of color have even fewer opportunities to lead than their White counterparts, even as they increasingly become one of the largest single demographics left riding during the pandemic. And Lotshaw and Pryce argue that those disparities will persist until we really listen to each other's experiences, and turn up the volume on the too-often-unspoken realities of being a gender-marginalized person in the transportation space.

On today's episode of The Brake, host Kea Wilson sat down with Lotshaw and Pryce to talk about why they chose to take a page from the riotgrrl playbook to tell this important story, what it's like for them to be women in the transportation field, and how shifting away from male-centric notions of leadership could change the way transit looks in the U.S. forever.

Hear it below, on Apple Podcasts, or anywhere else you listen, and be sure to read an excerpt of Subtext below, or download the full zine here.

Author: Kim Lucas. Via Subtext; Click to view larger
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Author: Tamika Butler. Via Subtext; Click to view larger
Author: Tamika Butler. Via Subtext

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