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London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has announced that it is making a commitment to bring more women into the rail industry by 2025, focusing specifically on train driver roles.
Driving roles currently represent the biggest disparity between male and female applicants. Industry-wide, the 2019 ASLEF Diversity report showed that just 6.5 per cent of train drivers in the UK were women. Currently, 10 per cent of LNER’s drivers are female, and the operating company is now aiming to further increase female participation in its driving workforce.
The number of women applying to LNER for driver roles has more than doubled in three years, increasing from just seven per cent of 2017 applications to 17 per cent in 2020. LNER is encouraging more women to consider train driver roles in the future, with a goal of 40 per cent of driver applications to be from females by 2025.
LNER is one of the leading organisations in the rail industry for gender diversity across the business, with a 42 per cent female workforce, compared to the industry average of 16 per cent of roles filled by women in the rail industry.
LNER’s People Director, Karen Lewis, said that more still needed to be done to promote careers in rail to women, including train driver roles: “The rail industry needs to do more to encourage women to consider a career in the sector. LNER has a workforce made up of 42 per cent women, and some of our female drivers have been with us since the early 1990s. We’re pleased to see an increasing number of applications each year from women who are interested in pursuing careers as a train driver, and we’re looking to speak to women who have never considered the industry before and encourage them to learn more.”
LNER has brought together train drivers from across the generations for International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March 2021 to encourage more women to consider roles as train drivers. LNER research showed that only one per cent of women said that they had wanted to be a train driver when they were young, compared to 21 per cent who wanted to be famous and 23 per cent who wanted to be a teacher.
The research showed a clear divide in roles that were ‘stereotypically’ male and female when it came to the aspirations of women when they were younger, with 18 per cent wanting to be a nurse or a vet, compared to two per cent considering a career as a mechanic or less than one per cent as a plumber when they grew up.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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