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More women needed in rail industry

More women should be encouraged to “come on board” and take advantage of the opportunities the rail industry has to offer for them, according to transport minister Baroness Susan Kramer. 

Speaking at the Women in Rail event in Derby this week, the minister stated that only 17.8% of people working in the rail sector are women and, currently, only 4.4% of the sector’s engineering workforce is female, two issues that need to be addressed. 

Baroness Kramer said: “The Women in Rail group has done a great job in raising awareness of careers in rail, and I am determined to help them break down the barriers that prevent women from joining the industry.

“It is an incredibly exciting time to work in rail, especially as we are currently investing in the biggest programme of rail modernisation since Victorian times.” 

During the event at the East Midlands Trains Academy, more than 50 men and women from across the rail and engineering industries with representatives from East Midlands Trains, Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Bombardier Transportation and the University of Derby in  attendance. 

Clare Burles, Women in Rail steering group member and human resources director of East Midlands Trains, said: “The best way we can help to encourage more women to work in rail is by working hard to get into the mindset of our future engineers from an early age. 

“By influencing girls whilst they are still at school and college and helping them realise there are lots of exciting opportunities waiting for them out there, we can help provide a more diverse and skilled workforce.” 

She added that the conference provided a great opportunity to talk about the issues that are holding women back from developing their careers in the rail sector. 

David Horne, Adeline Ginn, Baroness Kramer at WiR event

(Image: L-R David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains; Adeline Ginn, founder of Women in Rail, and Baroness Kramer, minister of state for Transport)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Anonymous In Derby   16/05/2014 at 12:36

Encouraging youth into engineering is a much needed step. Choosing specific demographics is a dangerous thing. As a passenger, I want to know the railway is designer, installed, commissioned, maintained and operated by a competent individual no matter what their race, creed or beliefs are. Currently there is a shortage of skilled staff. Time and effort needs to be put into ALL youngsters and we need to get away from the positive "discrimination". My wife is also in engineering. However, she will tell you schemes the specify elements of workforce actually causes problems for them later on.

Elsa Dixon   25/05/2014 at 07:21

I think you miss the point of positive discrimination. It's unlikely that women will break through the glass ceiling in your lifetime so you have little to fear. No wonder your comment was anonymous.

Anonymous In Derby   09/06/2014 at 19:47

Elsa, I work for, with and alongside women in many roles including engineers (as I said, my wife is one). In addition, I promote engineering to ALL groups whatever the person's creed, colour, race or sex. If you do some research you'll find out that often by the age of eight, many young people have chosen to avoid engineering. So, my comment about encouraging youth en masse that engineering is a good career. Any form of discrimination is WRONG. Someone getting a job is morally and legally wrong let alone beneficial for their own self-worth when they have the knowledge they were not the best for the job but just ticked the right box. I'd rather employ the right people who ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Or we can belittle women by employing them to meet a statistic... I am sure that positive element of discrimination will be good for them and their careers.

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