Over the past few years subtle changes in the management structure at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) have amounted to more women and visible minorities placed in key postions within the organization.

Despite the fact that there are not a lot of women wanting to change oil, or do heavy mechanical work, the TTC has, over the past few years, become a place where diversity being brought into the upper management is bringing a cultural change to the organization that is long overdue.

The 10 person TTC executive now  includes three women — the Chief of Staff, the Chief People Officer and the Chief Capital Officer.  This is a dramatic change from the executive just five years ago, which had no women on the executive team.

In the layer below the executive, there is an increasing number of women and ethnic minorities including Head of Stations, ‎Head of Wheel Trans, Head of Recruitment, Director of Employee Relations, and Head of Bus Transportation.

Jody Humble is the Director of Change Management at TTC and her role is to bring about the sort of cultural that CEO, Andy Byford, envisions.  When asked about the changes at TTC, Byford stated, “It is not unusual now, for men to be in the minority at high level, decision-making meetings. At a recent executive sub committee, ‎men, including myself, were outnumbered 4-10. This reflects the increasingly important role that women are taking in the running of the TTC.”

Out of six group station managers 50% are women.

In December, a number of media reports spoke about gender equality within the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Most writers focused on the fact that women only make up 15 per cent of the transit agency’s workforce. This number came from the TTC’s 2014 Annual Report on Diversity and Human Rights Achievements.

The city/provincial benchmark for female employment within the TTC is set at a lofty 48.7 per cent, a figure the media used to show the abysmal state of gender equality within the transit agency. They argued that women use transit in different ways than men. They take shorter trips, sometimes need to make multiple stops, and are often in caregiver roles which require greater accessibility. If more women were employed by the TTC, they said, more changes would be made to better transit.

However, what these articles failed to touch on is the number of women in positions of power—in senior management.

Before the holidays, we put a call out to both Metrolinx and the TTC to find out about the number of women within the agency that held decision-making roles. A spokesperson for the TTC reported that women make up 26.5 per cent of senior management, while Metrolinx said half of their senior management team positions are held by women.

This is a much greater accomplishment considering the city benchmark for senior management positions is 27.2 per cent.

The reality is that it’s difficult to attract women to the manual and physical jobs required of TTC employees. And even if the agency was able to get more female employees, the jobs they would employ would not be in roles of power. They are not positions that would allow women to make actual change within the agency.

Should the TTC be trying to encourage more women to be a part of their ranks? Absolutely! But, until that happens, Women’s Post will rest easy knowing that women are running the place.

Author

Katherine DeClerq is a contributor to Women's Post. Her previous writing experience includes the Toronto Star, Maclean's Magazine, CTVNews, and BlogTO. She can often be found at a coffee shop with her MacBook computer. Despite what CP says, she is a fan of the Oxford comma.

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