Diversity in the Rail industry benefits all
Diversity in the rail industry benefits all
The rail industry has been traditionally a male-dominated domain. But all that is changing – and according to Calibre National Client Account Manager - Strategic Advisory Charlotte Stanfield, that’s a positive outcome for everyone.
This change is being driven by industry bodies, such as the Australasian Rail Association, which is supporting diversity in rail in the belief that greater participation and advancement of women will support the industry’s long-term success.
Charlotte said the ARA’s initiatives including the Women in Rail LinkedIn group, mentoring hub and lunches were a step in the right direction. “The fact that they’ve got a CEO and board members that are female is exciting,” she said.
“I think that there’s an increase in women entering the industry as more women go through university. They are expecting to have great jobs, equal opportunities, succeed and flourish. There’s also been a change in leadership where key government agencies have appointed women to lead business units and sectors in a way that wasn’t happening before.”
Inclusivity creates benefits for everyone
Charlotte said that the need for creative and clever people required a diversity of skills and gender. “If you have inclusivity, then there’s an opportunity for all parties to succeed,” she said. “I think the tradition of rail development and delivery being a male domain is changing. There’s an opportunity now for much wider thinking and an understanding that you need a very diverse and rich pool of people and talents – and women provide that.”
She believes that events like the ARA-hosted Women in Rail lunch, a pre-curser to this week’s Heavy Haul Conference, is an acknowledgement and reminder to the industry that women are part of the conversation.
“It highlights the fact that women are at the table – and there’s some pretty senior women who are part of changing this industry and achieving success for our clients and the public,”
Looking to the future
The future of the Australian rail industry is healthier, according to Charlotte. “We’re seeing a renaissance of the 1930’s, particularly on the eastern seaboard,” she said. “There’s so much work and there’s an absolute shortage of Australian-based talent, and if you exclude 50 per cent of your gene pool from that, then you’ve got a problem.
“So, there are great opportunities for women. The fundamental is that we, our leadership, industry and the public understand the absolute need for inclusion of gender, race, age discipline, and the rail industry is large enough and requires a diverse service offering. There’s so much work. We need the very best people, and women are a central part of that workforce.”