Story of the GET Collaborative
Ania McDonnell had an interest in gender issues in transportation as a student at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, which resulted in papers and articles published by the school's Center for Women and Gender in Public Policy, and culminated in her masters thesis in May of 2020 on Gender Mainstreaming City Comprehensive Plans with a transportation focus. Following the successful publication of her thesis at the University of Minnesota, McDonnell's work has gained significant attention in transportation planning and policy making circles, creating momentum behind a vision to improve gender considerations in transportation planning. McDonnell and her thesis advisor, Frank Douma then reached out to their networks to bring together more stakeholders to meet and discuss other ways to work on this topic.
A small group of transportation researchers, planners, and consultants got together virtually in May of 2020. This group included many of the researchers that wrote articles McDonnell cited in her thesis, as well as leading practitioners that brought their energy, connections and experience from their employers and organizations that have specifically championed this work. The group has continued to meet since then, growing in size and capacity.
Within just 8 months of work, members have collaborated to successfully create research proposals and gain funding. Building on this energy, McDonnell and other Collaborative members continue to spread the message of gender and transportation research through presentations to groups interested in the topic.