Women in Rail Scotland: Survey Results July 2020


A survey published by a Women in Rail regional group has identified some of the key and common challenges faced by women across the rail sector in Scotland. 

Women in Rail’s Scotland Group completed the survey over the course of 2019. Over 110 personnel, both male and female, responded to the survey to provide a balanced view on various subjects, including the impact of ‘traditional’ views of careers within rail, treatment of employees based on gender and the working flexibility offered by different organisations.

The survey aimed to identify the challenges raised, so that the regional group’s activities and events programme can be aligned to address and support women across Scottish rail – as well as responding to the growing need to attract a new generation of talent. 

With expectations in the number of people using the railways set to double over the next 25 years, and major infrastructure investments, such as HS2, taking place – the need to attract the best talent to the sector – both men and women – is reinforced. The need to ensure an opportunity exists for everyone, in order to make sure the UK rail network has the capacity to meet this demand and for the railway to continue to provide a safe, reliable service, has never been more vital.

Though instigated in a time before the impact of COVID, the survey has shown that the historically male-dominated industry still has a way to go in the campaign for gender balance and equality; with support during and upon return from maternity leave – and work-life-balance – being at the forefront of challenges faced. 

Shona Clive, Regional Leader, Women in Rail Scotland and Head of Marketing and Communications, Babcock International says; “As economies cautiously reopen and businesses begin to return some of their employees to work safely, it’s clear that the way in which we all live and work has changed because of COVID.

“For businesses in the rail sector, it is even more important now that we develop as diverse and inclusive a workforce as possible to support the rail sector adopt new ideas, new ways of working and attract the best talent to take it forward during these challenging times. Women in Rail plays an important part in that by being a strong voice for change and raising the profile of the importance of diversity.

“By tackling the real issues that our members face we can make much progress in making the rail sector a more attractive career option for all.”

As well as offering support from within the group, WR Scotland aims to collaborate with like-minded bodies across Scotland to highlight the wider support available for our members or, potentially, ideas and best practice from other industry sectors. 

The full report is available here: Women in Rail Scotland: Survey Results July 2020

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, a second survey will now take place, to identify and highlight the impact (both positive and negative) that COVID has had on the sector. To find out more, please contact the Women in Rail Scotland Group by emailing scotland@womeninrail.org