Y-Mobility Conversations in the Park

Women in Mobility

March 30, 2022 Y-Mobility Season 1 Episode 10
Y-Mobility Conversations in the Park
Women in Mobility
Show Notes Transcript

Our talented new host Brittany Atkins has an invigorating and inspiring conversation with our esteemed guests - Elisa Sayrol, Orlie Gruper, and Danielle Walsh. We spent the time talking about how mobility spaces can support women, how they can exclude women, and how the gender imbalance in the mobility industry affects not only the women that make it to the top, but the generations to follow. The perfect way to close out Women's History Month, settle in and join the discussion.

B: Thank you everybody for joining Conversations in the Park. Today we are focusing on women in mobility and the true impact of gender inequality on mobility. today's podcast has been created by Y-mobility and is sponsored by the good people at EIT Urban Mobility. My first guest is Professor Dr. Elisa Sayrol who is Associate Professor at the Department of signal theory and communications at Barcelona tech. Elisa, as well as an esteemed academic expert, you are, of course, also a consumer of mobility services like the rest of us. So taking it back to the people that really matter, those of us that use transport of all kinds, what kind of gender based inequality Have you experienced when using transport in Barcelona.

E:  I truly believe that in Barcelona, women's mobility patterns have been taken into account. So for the last years, there's been a lot of improvements. Let's say for example, we have a bus service at night that stops women, not at the bus stops. But wherever women want to stop near their home or their workplace. We also have in Barcelona, a major which is a women and a deputy major in mobility that is a woman. So I think they are sensitive to the women's moving around. But even there are some advances, there are still some issues that have to be solved. One of them is safety, like still women feel unsafe, taking public transportation at night. I would say also that what happens often is that in Barcelona, women take less bikes than men, because they also feel unsafe. So this safety issue is one of the most important that have to be solved in Barcelona.

B: Well, thank you so much for sharing. And my second guest is Orlie Gruper, who is general partner at mobility at Capital, and the founder of the women in mobility group, which I'm very pleased to be a member of. So thank you for having me, first of all, Orlie, in today's world, what perspectives are missing when we consider all things mobility related, and what's the impact of that?

O: Mobility is so broad. So I feel like in all different types of modes of mobility, there's a perspective missing when looking at women, if it's private vehicles, I don't know if you know this, but female dummies for crash testing were only initiated in the 70s. And not only that, they actually are. So for the male dummies, it's a 50% percentile. So the average man and the female dummies just a smaller version of the male body. So it's not really according to the female form. And not only that, it's 5% percentile. So meaning that only 5% of the women are that small. So actually, seatbelts and all of the airbags and everything in the car, that doesn't really suit, especially so women are prone to 70% more hard injuries in fatal accidents. And I think something like 17% more prone to die. And if they're pregnant, on their third trimester is 60% of pregnancies don't even match the seatbelt that is today. So just touching on private mobility. It's like a little world, really not taking women into account. And you know, if we look at everything else, Elisa talked about public transportation and traveling at night, but if you look also at engineering of the transportation system, you see that it's very male oriented, so it's to get masses of people to work and back home. But women according to research, they have a different mobility pattern, so they do less kilometers with more stops, because they usually run errands, they do 75% of the unpaid work. So they're doing a lot of escorting children, parents friends. So the time that they need is more in the afternoon, actually, when public transportation is in lower demand time. So instead of having a bus every 20 minutes, it's now every hour. So go catch yourself using smart transportation then, and I'm not even getting into micro mobility and all these things, but there's so many things that we can do, just with shifting our mindset reprioritizing mobility passengers and their needs. And also using technology to to enhance and better the journey experience and make it a more safe space for all of humankind. You know, the funniest thing is, for me is that women are thought of as a minority group, yet we're 51% of the population in the world. So just food for thought.

B: What an interesting start. Yeah, that's good to know. And I feel like there's a real opportunity for somebody to manufacture not only more representative, like female mannequins, for, you know, fashion shops, but also for crash dummies. So that's good to know, I might, might look into that after our podcast. And finally, we are joined by Danielle Walsh, CEO and founder of Clearly, a mobility emissions monitoring startup. Danielle, as a female founder, you occupy a relatively rare position in the industry and hats off to you, it's, you know, it's so important to have people like yourself, for us to see that we, you know, and for us to take inspiration from that. We perhaps too, could found our own businesses. Could you tell us a little bit more about Clearly's mission and what considerations you take to ensure that all different profiles of kind of an individual and their needs are fairly weighted or even considered in the first place? Because to Orlie's point, if we just think about gender diversity, there's 51% of us, apparently, so good to know, good to know that we're being fairly weighted and thought off?

D: Sure. Thanks so much for the introduction. Yeah, so Clearly is a company where we are agnostic on our data pool, we pull it for a whole raft of of sources, from satellite mobile phones, connected cars. And what we do is, we blend that data. And we give real time updates around the emission impact of the movement of people or the movement of packages. So I think you're the in terms of the movement of packages, there, the issue is that you have many different packages inside one van. And it's just tracking down to the brand level, that it's that it's an issue. We're moving to the movement of people which I think your question was targeted at, again, you've got to look at the contextual aspect. So I think we're really picking up here on what Orlie is saying around the data in the experience out. So if we give an example, we need to give the emission factors of you and I moving around whether it's to work, or as a customer of the form of transportation we're using. Now, there's one thing during the calculation, there's another thing trying to trigger a behavioral change, because of that trip level factor. So if I'm giving a little nudge through an application, such as Uber, what that backend system is doing is it is looking at the profile of the person that we are triggering. And then we're looking at what is the contextual field now on a city level, there's no gender involved, it could be traffic could be Is there public transportation available, I sit in Tel Aviv, and that's not the case, London, it most certainly is the case. And then the other contextual factors is then the persona. So it's very different from a an elderly person moving around to it is a young person, as is it very different to a mother who may be pregnant and has two children beside her, or a mother of four that is moving around, you're not going to do a nudge to that mother to get onto a bicycle and do micro mobility to and from work, nor are you going to when she's coming back from a shop and trying to push her actually into a form of carpooling. That profiling is very important when you're then considering that a man who could be the parent also, but is the parent that's going to work without the children, one day, he could be going with the children, but in the factor of just my way of example, you could be nudging him into other things. So I think what we're really speaking about here is the contextual framework, which is effectively thinking about the use cases of a woman and different circumstances to feed an algorithm because we're effectively training a child, which is the AI in order to trigger the right factors. So from safety, that Orlie was mentioning, all the way through now in terms of how our mission really is to get the planet to net zero, looking at financing on terms of the capex size, but also as changing our behavior positively. How do you look at those conceptual frameworks? And how do you factor all considerations in.

B: Thank you, Danielle, it's such important work that you're doing and so interesting to hear about. So I'm pleased we've got you and we'll definitely be talking more about how clearly fits into the wider picture that we should be discussing today. Danielle, talking about kind of profiling and perhaps assumptions that are made I feel like this leads me on to an interesting question for you, Elisa, on part of your you know, role in involving AI and computer vision. And in the past the controversy we've seen over the capacity to favor some social groups over others. To what extent have you found that women can be a blind spot in this kind of work and will that pose issues as computer vision becomes a bigger part of mobility, infrastructure and development? 

E: Definitely, when we use a computer vision algorithms based on AI if we don't take into account women, there could be a bias on on the algorithms that later on process the data. So we have to ensure any company, any research institution that builds databases, to be sure that we get data, images, videos, whatever they do, either emobility. It includes all kinds of profiles that these women, male people of different races, children, women with trolleys. So if we miss one of these, let's say profiles, including women and women, then we can fall into some black spot in this sense. So AI as we could say that it's like, when we have a brain that is empty, and we fill it with data, we have this brain learns with new data. And we have to have data from everything. If we want to make, let's say, reliable AI algorithms.

B: Thank you, Elisa. Orlie, I know if we think about your time at EcoMotion, and you have to remind me on the huge number of startups that you've that you've worked with and been involved with globally, I'd be interested to hear what opportunities you see from kind of fully realizing the potential of computer vision, and what needs to be considered in order to do that. And I'd also love for us to touch on your own kind of comfort levels regarding privacy, and perhaps, perhaps your dream of where the kind of future of mobility could go. If we're very inclusive. And we're open and receptive to this technology, as long as we know, that a kind of fair and varied data set is being considered.

O: Yeah, so EcoMotion has over 600 startups and mobility, really touching autonomous, connected, mass infrastructure, drones, and more, in terms of what I think can be done, so if touching upon, you know, the challenges I talked about before. So if we use computer vision, and in cabin sensing for knowing if it's a male or a female sitting in that seat, we don't need to speculate and take different statistics of people in crashes, we can just simulate and already know how to adapt the airbags, according to the person's size, shape, posture, all of these things are, you know, there, they can change the way that that accidents are happening today and their consequences, but let alone letting a computer take over instead of the human brain. Because, like I said, before, women are prone to more 70% injuries. But most fatal accidents are made by men. So we're not only getting the bad end of the deal, we're also not the ones causing it because they're more prone to taking risk and driving under, you know, substances and, and all of that driving fast. So yeah, and if we're looking at, you know, computer vision to be used in all different things, such as also, let's say infrastructure. So we're talking now about real time traffic management, okay. And today, we're kind of using it to automate procedures that happened in more mechanic way before so if the camera sees today, passengers, they can prioritize them over vehicles that are passing, right. But if we use that camera a bit more adequately to computer vision and all its abilities, we can see that it's a woman may could see that it's a woman with a stroller, maybe give her more time, we can see that it's an elderly couple. And you know, the thing that hurts me the most is seeing old people running at the end of the time of theirs, like their time at the crossroads, because they started in a green light and it became red all of a sudden, but you know, smart, smart traffic lights can see that give them more time and let them live in peace and not you know, going to a heart attack, right there. So it's really like an every aspect that that we will look at in mobility. I think that if we talked about Public Transportation and Safety feeling, you know, in defense world, so they use kind of computer vision and centers to get your vital signs in terms of you know, if you're going to do a bomb attack, or if you're going to do something bad because like your heartbeat kind of changes. You know, people are just chillin waiting for the bus and you're like, your heartbeat is racing. Something's wrong there. Why don't we take that instead of having, like, four, you know, bad people seeing on public transportation if someone is feeling uncomfortable? If someone is feeling attacked, if someone is feeling ill, and you know, be proactive instead of waiting for women to report on sexual harassment and things like that, and, you know, because they're gonna feel bad, but continue on their day, they're not going to stop their day right now, and sit down with an officer and report and everything. So I feel like, you know, just technology is this amazing thing that it just does what we asked it to do. And it's all about asking the right questions, if we're talking about data, and it's all about, you know, giving the right perspective and training the brain as we want it to think. So, we have a whole new world now of rethinking. And I think that new angles are needed in a nutshell.

B: Yeah, thank you so much.

E: You're giving me a lot of ideas, Orlie, to implement now.

O: Let’s do a brainstorming session.

E: Okay (laughs)

B: You know, it's always a good conversation, when there's a long Action List afterwards, and you're like, Oh, we spoke for half an hour. And now there's three, three weeks of work to do. So thank you so much Orlie. we've covered a lot on data, which was one really important part of the discussion. But to have, you know, three, you know, very inspiring figures, working within mobility that are all women. And we've got a full female production team as well today. From my mobility side, I do definitely want to make sure we talk about role models. So Danielle, I think I'd like to start with you please. How do we positively encourage more women to step up? And follow your journey? And what's been what's been most supportive to you so far?

D: Sure. I think it's the biggest thing as well. I know that at the moment, the stats are not in our favor in terms of how many women founders there are, but there are more and more that are coming to the table, which is fantastic. It's not an easy journey. I knew at the start, but I realized it in the last year that it's, it's really tough. It's an emotional roller coaster, you doubt yourself a lot. And I think as a founder, it's, it's pretty lonely. And there are times that whether you're a woman or a man, you really do doubt yourself. And you can dip out at any point, right, and especially with the right at the start of founding a company, you've got to hold a face a shield in front of customers, investors, employees, everyone where you're confident that things are going great. And behind you're thinking, I don't think I'm going to survive for another two months, someone asked for holiday. And you're like, yep, you can take holiday at that day. And you're thinking he may not have a job when he comes back. Right. So you really got to hold that shield. And I think the biggest thing of what I found was having a support network, where can you be vulnerable? Now it can be mixed. But I think what we're very fortunate, I think you introduce it throw the corporate knee is that we do have Women in Mobility that's ran by Orlie, and having a space where you can be with different executives that can help out whether it's jobs, whether it's advice, but also a space, where you feel confident that you can show that vulnerability, I think it's huge and should not be underestimated. Having the confidence, right, of course, even starting a startup should be a calculated risk. And it should not be if it really is not working you obviously you have to know when to stop. But if it is, and you just need to step up, I think that's really important. And I think another thing is to have that network again, it should be should be mixed with men and women. It doesn't need to be just women in the room. But I think having the confidence to to really go for it, right? Whether it's when you raise your round, and how much and and keep behind it and stay confident. And you you will have slip ups along the way. And you will have people that will want to slip you up man or woman. I think women over question things a lot. So stay confident, and sound confident.

B: A really lovely answer, Danielle, so thank you, and you definitely have all of us cheering you on. So keep going and get very excited to see we're excited to see where Clearly ends up. And, you know, lovely, lovely introduction I think, for us to speak a little bit more about the women in mobility community that you've built Orlie, what would you say are the main benefits the main benefits within such a community? And, you know, what have you learned from the community on how women can better support each other so that fantastic individuals like Danielle, go make beautiful new services and tools and really lead the future of mobility?

O: Yeah, following up on what Danielle said. So we're now in the second batch of the WiMentoring program where women mentor other women, each one and whatever, you know, challenges she has on the table and it's a three month program. And at the closing event, something that came up in like everything everyone said it was it's just so good to talk to someone about this. you know, just to have that another woman to talk to, from the field, knowing the industry knowing the challenges. And and just to share, I think that something that, you know, brought a lot of a lot of ease to many of them. And I think that the power of Women in Mobility basically was created in the beginning, my first event that I when I joined the EcoMotion team, so this is a really cool like beachfront executives from all over the world, everyone together talking about technology, having beer, and one thing really bothered me in that there was no line to the woman's bathroom. And I'm used to standing in line and I felt okay, so this, there's a big gap there. And, and also, I, I understood that startups are now raising a lot of money, and their next thing is going to be human capital, they're going to raise a lot, like, hire a lot of people. And if, if the gap is so big, right, now, we have to make sure that in the growth, at least, we can grow the number of women in the field. So basically, creating this group of women that can share job opportunities can share partnership opportunities can start exploring synergies and bring businesses together and, you know, bring women from from all sectors around the mobility table, I think that it's it's amazing today, like it's, it's creating even ripple effects. And there's a group of women and the energy that started and women in space, and everyone is now like, replicating it and creating more of these platforms, because there's so much magic in this type of, of platform that brings together all these women, and supports them also, in sharing challenges, if someone is going through something, then probably a lot of us are going through the same thing, maybe sometimes different magnitudes. But this is a great place to share that. And my goal is also to give tools for growth, so to see how we can support women and giving them tools if if we want to see more women on stages. So we did a workshop on public speaking. Now, I see a lot of women shifting positions. And money is always an issue for women. So we're going to do a session or workshop on negotiating your salary and your title. Because those are important as well. They're important for men, they should be important for women, my trick is always to have, if you have a number in your head as a woman, just add 30% to it. And that's probably it's gonna take a lot of guts. But you got to raise that amount. Because you're probably starting-

B: I love that as a practical solution, just have a button somewhere or a poster or a reminder, just like before you speak. Before you press send before you press go just add 30%, just have a calculator ready with a formula set 30%. Yeah, nice practical takeaway we can we can take from this. So thank you very much Orlie. We spoke about, Orlie, you mentioned about like women on stage. And we've spoken a little about role models, obviously, you know, when we think about mobility and automotive technology, Elon Musk is always the name that comes to mind. And it's Elon, that's really, you know, pardon the pun driving the headlines here. What do we feel like is the impact of that? And Elisa? That might be a nice question for you to answer, please. 

E: Well, I think Elon Musk is brilliant, technically, but I think he has made some comments or done some actions in in his company that are a little bit sexist. And I think it's very bad for any profession to have a role model that is biased, that doesn't want women in high positions. So I think it's about influence. And I wish there were no so many role models like him. Or maybe he changed his attitude in the sense, but definitely with respect and and seeing admiring him at the technical level. 

B: Of course, thank you so much. We just need to find the female alternative, don't we? everything in life is about balance, and yin and yang. And we just need to find that female energy to take to take center stage. And maybe it's Danielle at Clearly watch this space. So to close this conversation. I'd love to ask for kind of some final few concluding words from the each of you from the each of you, let's keep it short and sweet. And how hopeful do we feel for the future of mobility taking women and diversity and equality and inclusion into consideration? 

E: If i may start 

B: Oh, yeah, please do

E: Now just very fast. I believe in education. So I believe that we have to do educate young people from the very beginning for equality and diversity, and make, let's say, make it natural to have decision making positions to have women like male. So there is no difference between being male or female in these high positions. 

B: Thank you. And how about yourself, Danielle? 

D: I think it's always good to say you're hopeful. And let's say on that, that side, and I think it's a push across the whole industry, whether you're in a startup, an investor or an executive, let's bring more women and the future children, the future girls to the table where they all feel equal.

B: Thank you, Danielle. And how about yourself Orlie? 

O: Optimistic, I feel like there's a new generation out there that is looking to do an impact to be a part of, you know, making the world a better place. And this comes in not only our footprint, but also equality and you know, looking at all humans as one so, so I am very optimistic on that. My hope is that, like I said before, that we use technology, not only to automate, but also to rethink, and this is my greatest takeaway from today.

B: Perfect. Thank you so much, Orlie. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you all, I hugely appreciate your time. Thank you for listening. Thank you to the Y-mobility team for producing today's podcast and of course, a big thank you to the EIT Urban Mobility for sponsoring and making today possible.