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Author Topic: Women in Community Rail (WiCR)  (Read 1311 times)
grahame
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« on: June 24, 2017, 07:50:25 AM »

From http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/The-Last-Word/women-in-community-rail--on-track-to-change - in March last year

Quote
Women in community rail – on track to change
Source: RTM Feb/Mar 16

Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership Officer, explains how a Women in Community Rail group could be a positive way of promoting community rail, sharing good practice and reaching out to young people.

Community rail is about innovation, creativity and generally being at the forefront of good practice. But in terms of promoting gender, diversity and community rail it has appeared that we were on the slow train – you know the one – the train that stops at every station and takes an age to reach the destination.

Things started to change in 2015. Women in Rail (WR) were putting out regular thought-provoking articles about gender balance, women in the rail world and the need to attract younger people, and particularly women, into scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. Excellent! It is good to have a group highlighting women and the rail world, promoting dialogue and highlighting some of the issues facing the industry today. However, WR didn’t seem to be attracting community rail audiences and that isn’t really a surprise. Hands up if you know about community rail and can explain what it entails?

A sister group to WR suddenly seemed to make a lot of sense, and a Women in Community Rail (WiCR) group could be a very positive way of promoting community rail, sharing good practice  and reaching out to young people.

Over the last few months a core group have been talking, emailing and gauging support from colleagues with any community rail remit. This process has been surprising, challenging and positive. There is a lot of positive support for a community rail group, but there has been some anxiety around any group that appears to be just for women (WiCR is open to anyone who supports its aims) and research undertaken shows that there is a role for the group reaching out to champion community rail and diversity opportunities.

A steering group has been set up with representation from five train operators (Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, TransPennine Express, Great Western Railway and Merseyrail), two community rail partnerships, two station friends of groups, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), and transport authorities: Merseytravel and Transport for Greater Manchester.

The group aims to:
* Become recognised as a strategic player across the rail industry and an important consultee
* Share knowledge and expertise to encourage gender balance
* Create a mentoring/support network for all colleagues throughout the industry
* Increase inclusivity within the community rail world
* Encourage younger people to get involved in the community rail world
* Share best practice across the wider industry and business sector
* Encourage innovation and a can do attitude
We think there is work to be done – promoting community rail as a career and encouraging volunteers and colleagues to think about diversity and gender balance. Community rail is about teamwork and the best teams are made up of those with different skills and talents from both genders. WiCR is an inclusive group, very keen to attract male as well as female members and to demonstrate the benefits of working together.

WiCR is also pleased to announce that Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail (and new MD for Arriva Rail North from 1 April), is the first ambassador for the group, supporting and promoting the group and its aims.

Last night at the Melksham Rail User Group meeting, we noted that all present were male, at, near, or beyond retirement age, and white British. That is not the profile of our passengers, and it's become far less the profile of the rail industry too; we should be more diverse in our user groups, and indeed the industry could probably gain a lot from having more of a balance.   Positive discrimination and looking for proportions which almost exactly match the population's profile aren't easy topics and there are natural differences between the genders, and between the ages at which people have time to get involved with community rail rather than having the ratrace of earning a living and raising a family.

The aims of the group are inclusivity and they encourage member of any gender, with all working together.  I will admit to still personally being a little uncomfortable with the name, no matter how many times it's been explained to me that it's just a name and "Inclusivity in Community Rail" (IiCR) or something like that doesn't have the same ring to it.

I'm posting this morning because I've received the latest WiCR update via email - and I'm sharing it (here). Please excuse formatting issues - it arrived as document in a MicroSoft format and my open source system struggled a bit, but the content and message is readable.



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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2017, 08:40:00 AM »

I have had a long running joke with trainer, along the lines of  'that the day I see a member of the fairer sex write a letter to Todays Railways or Rail magazine, I'll eat my hat'. (note to self: borrow Paddy Ashdown's). Whilst it is good to see more woman breaking into senior management roles, shattering any perceived glass ceiling, it is a great shame that those much lower on the ladder, are not more widely represented, at least in print.
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2017, 09:55:15 AM »


Last night at the Melksham Rail User Group meeting, we noted that all present were male, at, near, or beyond retirement age, and white British. That is not the profile of our passengers, and it's become far less the profile of the rail industry too; we should be more diverse in our user groups, and indeed the industry could probably gain a lot from having more of a balance.   Positive discrimination and looking for proportions which almost exactly match the population's profile aren't easy topics and there are natural differences between the genders, and between the ages at which people have time to get involved with community rail rather than having the ratrace of earning a living and raising a family.

The aims of the group are inclusivity and they encourage member of any gender, with all working together.  I will admit to still personally being a little uncomfortable with the name, no matter how many times it's been explained to me that it's just a name and "Inclusivity in Community Rail" (IiCR) or something like that doesn't have the same ring to it.

I'm posting this morning because I've received the latest WiCR update via email - and I'm sharing it (here). Please excuse formatting issues - it arrived as document in a MicroSoft format and my open source system struggled a bit, but the content and message is readable.

The railway industry currently is the victim of many of a skills gap, certainly in engineering and even in Ops, this is in part what happened to the industry through the 1990's / 2000's many young people at that time did not see the railways having a future, because Government more or less said so with things like Serpal and other reports.

The industry does now have a generation of very talented people coming in of a very diverse range of gender, ethnicity etc.  It takes time for them to build up the experience and knowledge and they are getting there. 

The problem will be retaining them, most do not have the this is a job / career for life, this is in part the way society has educated their generation also the industry and Government don't engender the job / career for life.  The millennials look at my generation retiring age 60 and work out they could be 70 before they can even consider it on the current career so are looking at ways to reduce their retirement age which means if other jobs / industries pay better they are off as there is nothing to retain them
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2017, 10:48:29 AM »

The problem will be retaining them, most do not have the this is a job / career for life, this is in part the way society has educated their generation also the industry and Government don't engender the job / career for life.  The millennials look at my generation retiring age 60 and work out they could be 70 before they can even consider it on the current career so are looking at ways to reduce their retirement age which means if other jobs / industries pay better they are off as there is nothing to retain them

ET makes a very good point and it certainly reflects my experience in the railway S&T industry.  However, having worked at quite a few different signalling design firms over the past 48 years you would be supprised at the number of women Design Engineer/CAD Operators that take that up as a long term career (my daughter happens to be one of them; must be in the genes!).  I suppose that as its not considered 'front line' work that it doesn't get that much publicity.

The issue that ET mentions of retention has been endemic in the railway industry since the 1970s.  I have watched people come and go as thats the only way they could develop their careers (and of course better their pay and conditions).  The railway has always been very poor at playing that 'game'.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 11:05:30 AM by SandTEngineer » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 12:22:19 AM »

I can offer a few names here, and they are all in the public domain, due to their excellent work in local community rail partnerships in the South West of England:

Rebecca Catterall, of the Devon and Cornwall CRP;

Heather Cullimore, of the Severnside CRP;

Catherine Phillips, of the Heart of Wessex CRP.

They have all been recognised and won awards for their work - QED
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