On 21 January, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) published the outcome of the first annual review of the development of women employment in European railway companies. The results show that the average share of women working in the rail sector remains constant at around 20%. Overall, women are still underrepresented in technical professions. Equality measures focus on the improvement of the work-life balance.
While women account for 18% of positions with managerial responsibilities, they only represent 1.4% of train drivers. The situation is slightly better in the field of engineering. The current figures show that female engineers are underrepresented in Italy, France, Luxemburg, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium with an average of 11% compared to the Czech Republic, Latvia, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Romanian, Turkey, Slovakia and Serbia where they account for 40%.
To overcome inequalities between women and men, railway companies decided to focus on solutions that could better bring together work and family commitments. Around 80% of the participating railway companies offer, for example, flexible and reduced working time possibilities and support in organising care of children and elderly.
Within the field of career opportunities for women, the potential is not yet fully revealed. However, 16.7% of the participating companies have installed campaigns to make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professions more attractive to women and another 12.5% plan to do so in the near future. The review also emphasised that around 20% of the railway companies have agreements on quantitative targets in order to increase the share of women in the company. Moreover, a number of companies have already implemented measure for supporting women’s careers, such as mentoring programs, agreements on candidate lists and child care during professional training.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “Providing equality measures for women and men in railway employment is one of our priorities. Our sector is developing alternatives and solutions to ensure proper employment conditions for women in rail. We are happy to working together on this with ETF, a competent partner in this field.”
ETF Deputy Secretary General Sabine Trier pointed out: “The 2007 Joint CER/ETF Recommendations on a better representation and integration of women in the rail sector are an important instrument for awareness-raising but they need constant evaluation and promotion. Companies have to act now to attract women to the rail sector. They can no longer afford to do without qualified women.”
Notes to the editor:
Overall, 24 companies from 19 countries took part in the survey. This is one less than in the ‘2010 Women in Rail inquiry’, a joint project of the European social partners in the rail sector, namely: CER, EIM and ETF, which was co-financed by the European Union. Henceforth surveys will be provided annually to evaluate the efforts and measures of European railway companies to ensure equality between women and men.
The results can be downloaded from the ETF website and CER website.
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The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) brings together more than 80 European railway undertakings and infrastructure companies. CER represents the interests of its members towards the European institutions as well as other policy makers and transport actors. CER’s main focus is promoting the strengthening of rail as essential to the creation of a sustainable transport system which is efficient, effective and environmentally sound. For more information, see www.cer.be
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The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) represents the interests of 241 trade unions from all transport modes with more than 2,5 million members at European level. It is recognized European Social Partner in 7 Social Dialogue Committees.