During Women’s Month, Optibus celebrates some of the great women around the world who are making public transportation better and succeed in the incredibly complex task of keeping our cities moving efficiently and sustainably.
We are very pleased to present an interview with Roberta Soares who has been working as a journalist for 30 years, of which more than 20 have been dedicated to the area of urban mobility. Roberta Soares is in charge of the Mobility Column of the Sistema Jornal do Commercio de Comunicação (SJCC), one of the most influential media outlets in the northeast region of Brazil, headquartered in the city of Recife.
Roberta Soares is also a producer of specialized content on urban mobility. Throughout her career, she has written articles for the Politics, Brazil, International and Cities sections. Below Roberta Soares shares her vast experience in the mobility sector coverage as a journalist.
Ms. Soares, it's great to have you! Tell us something interesting about your career?
Before coming to the urban mobility sector more than 20 years ago, I covered public safety for almost 10 years. I went through Politics twice, but Police Journalism was my great school.
Can you share some of the main challenges throughout your career as a journalist and a woman specializing in urban mobility sector?
There have been many challenges in these more than 20 years that I have been covering urban mobility on a daily basis. The sector, especially public transport, is a technical area, which requires grounded knowledge. As a journalist, I usually say that if we don't understand what we're going to write about, we won't be able to be clear. And we need, in our role of informing, to be understood. So I learned and still learn a lot. Daily. Luckily, I had great professors who still teach and guide me, who are great names in urban mobility in the country - specialists, professors, technicians and managers. In addition to them, there are many sources that help me on a daily basis. It is constant learning.
What can we do for more women to have a career in the transport and/or mobility industry?
Give them opportunities. That's simple. As it is in any field.
What are the main themes in transportation you advocate the most?
Always, always and always collective and sustainable urban mobility. Public transport, cycling and walking stand out. Those who follow my work know this, see this in my reports. I am not condemning cars, but I understand that we need to discuss its use, not its ownership. Collective modes are necessary for the good of cities and society. My struggle in journalism focused on urban mobility is for public transport to stop being a political discourse, for the middle class to start using it*, and then for it to gain more space in the debate in the country. Seeing life from a car window is limiting. Believe it!
*Editorial note: The use of individual transport is socially highly valued in many countries of the American continent, which distances people from classes with greater purchasing power from using public transport.
What drives you?
Journalism is what motivates me. Anyone who is a journalist will understand what I say. But, specifically in the case of the sector I follow, the collectivity and the urgency of making society understand that urban mobility is social justice also motivate me. Without mobility people do not have access to education, health and leisure. They are also exposed to insecurity.
What advice would you give to young women who would like to have a career in the industry?
Go for it! Try the urban mobility experience! Use public transport, cycle, walk. Don't just drive the car. It is necessary to experience the sector and its problems to understand the urgency of the changes that are so necessary for the country.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Walking on the beach, bathing a lot in the sea (I live close to the beach), cycling, taking care of my house and watching a lot of movies.
We hope you enjoyed Roberta Soares's insights as much as we did. Did you also see the other episodes of our interview series in which we interview women who are making public transportation better around the world? Find them in our blog overview.