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The number of women hired by Queensland Rail in its recruitment push is more than four times the rate in the current workforce, breaking down traditional barriers.
The organisation is hiring 120 new drivers after a shortage caused mass delays and cancellations in December.
One of the latest recruits is Alicia Constable, who is returning to the driver's seat after four years' maternity leave.
The former chemical engineer was outnumbered and discouraged in her previous work in the private sector, but is not intimidated in what still is a male-dominated classroom.
She said Queensland Rail's human resource guidelines are strict, preventing any intimidation.
"Gender has not been an issue," she said.
"It's good, it's not perfect.
"There is definitely no discrimination in the classroom. Everyone helps each other out."
The mother-of-three said the biggest challenge would be the shift work and juggling the work-life balance.
"When you have a job with so many hundreds of people's lives at sake, you cannot switch off, you cannot escape to the office to get away from the kids," she said.
More toilet breaks part of changesOnly 4 per cent of Queensland Rail's train drivers are women.
Once Ms Constable's class graduates, that will increase to 6 per cent, bringing it on par with New South Wales.
[color=#000000][size=1]PHOTO:[/size][/color] Ms McGovern says some commuters are shocked to see a woman at the helm. (ABC News: Kym Agius)
The organisation has introduced mentoring programs, more flexible work hours and showcases women on social media in non-traditional roles.
Queensland Rail human resources executive manager Nicholle Duce said they would not introduce a female quota, but were working to change the culture.
"I certainly think that perhaps people haven't seen role models in our organisation," she said.
[color=#000000][size=1]PHOTO:[/size][/color] Only 4 per cent of train drivers are women, soon increase to 6 per cent. (ABC News: Kym Agius)
Peita McGovern was a guard for six years before switching to train driving 15 months ago.
She said the simple things have made the job easier.
"Not to be rude, toilet breaks are longer," she said.
"Ipswich to Caboolture is a very long way when there isn't a toilet around."
[color=#000000][size=1]PHOTO:[/size][/color] Alicia Constable says the shift work will be the biggest struggle with three kids. (ABC News: Melanie Vujkovic)
She does gets stick from her male colleagues, but no more than she can give.
"It would certainly be good to have another mum to talk to," she said.
"I've had many a day where the public has gone 'oh it's a girl', and they are shocked to see a female driver or guard."
[color=#000000][size=1]PHOTO:[/size][/color] Ms McGovern and Glenn Robinson change shift at Eagle Junction station. (ABC News: Kym Agius)
Across the board, one in five Queensland Rail employees are women.
That is just better than the industry average.
Transport Minister Jackie Trad said the female new hires were proof traditional barriers were being broken down.
"Females are feeling more comfortable pursuing a rewarding career in a field that would once have been regarded as a man's world."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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