Women in Rail

28 September by Miriam Heale


Today’s rail industry is more diverse than ever before, but still in the UK only 16 per cent of the workforce is only made up of women.  The majority, 60 per cent, are working in customer-facing roles and just 4 per cent currently occupy an engineering job. 

Exceptions to the rule include Nicola Shaw CBE, who has recently taken up the position of Executive Director UK for National Grid, and her replacement Dyan Crowther who takes over as CEO at HS1.  

However, in the main women are not involved in the core decision making with 79 per cent in non-managerial roles and only 0.6 per cent having progressed to director or executive level.

The same is true for the construction industry with only 11 per cent of the workforce being female, according to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

‘Women in Rail’ group was founded in 2012 by Adeline Ginn, an in-house lawyer for Angel Trains in London.  She says the industry "is misunderstood and misrepresented", adding that young women are unaware of what it can offer in terms of career options. 

However, there is a big push to attract women into rail.  For one it widens the talent pool, research has shown that having a gender-mix at management level improves the companies productivity and sales, and after all, 50 per cent of rail customers are women.

“Evidence shows that companies with more women on their boards outperform their rivals with a ‘42% higher return on sales, 66% higher return on invested capital” Catalyst (2007) The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards. 

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