Bus Éireann are holding open days to actively encourage more women drivers to apply for roles that are available nationwide.
“Traditionally, the majority of our drivers have been male but that is changing, and we want to encourage more women to consider it as a career option,” said Bus Éireann PR Manager Joe Sheridan.
One of the main faces the company are using to promote the inclusion of women in their company is driver Rhonda, who has been driving with the company for 12 years.
“When I was a young girl, I saw a female Bus Éireann driver and thought one day I would like to do that. I then took the plunge and got my bus licence and with no driving experience”, said Rhonda.
“I arrived into Bus Éireann for an open day 11 years ago and was hired. It was by far one of my best decisions.”
Heather is another driver, who has been working with Bus Éireann for only the past year. “I love having the opportunity to drive outside of the city on a daily basis,” she said of her experience in the role.
The change to this traditionally male-centred role has been growing, with Dublin Bus graduating their first all-female class of drivers from their training centre in Phibsborough.
This came after some previous controversy involving women bus drivers on Dublin Bus, one of which was told she was “too short” to drive and was awarded €6,000 from the Equality Tribunal for gender discrimination in 2010. At the time, Dublin Bus confirmed that there may be some men who had been hired who had also not met the height restriction.
In 2015 just 3 per cent of Dublin Bus drivers were women. The first female bus driver for Dublin Bus was hired in 1980. Until 2014, Dublin Bus had not recruited drivers for a period of six years and during this time the number of women drivers fell.
Ingrid Doyle, who has worked as a driver with Dublin Bus for over 15 years, said she thinks there are a number of reasons why women have shied away from driving jobs with Dublin Bus.
“It’s shift work… and for women with children that’s really difficult, especially women with small kids,” Doyle explained. She said the job does often come with some verbal abuse from customers and this can be very difficult to get used to at first.
Overall female employment in Ireland is roughly equal until there is a permanent drop-off between the ages of 29 and 39.7, according to IBE. Women with children and partners are 5.5 times more likely to do all or most of the household work than men in the same family situation. In 2016, 51.5 per cent of women compared to 67.8 per cent worked in the labour force.
Image Credit: Bus Éireann