Women in Rail

Rail is entering an exciting period as a result of unprecedented investment and expansion. This transformation provides rail with the unique opportunity to embrace change and improve the gender diversity of our workforce.

Currently, passenger operators are at differing stages of the gender diversity journey. As a whole, the industry has an ageing and male-dominated workforce but shares a strong desire to actively improve the gender balance throughout rail. The significant growth facing the industry provides the perfect leverage to initiate this change.  The timing is right.

To initiate a national plan, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) convened a one-day workshop, bringing together passenger rail representatives and ARA-member consultants as the Women in Rail Advisory Committee (the committee). During this workshop the committee detailed existing diversity and inclusion programs, brainstormed options for a national approach to improving  rail’s gender imbalance, while sharing an enthusiasm to act. The recommendations from this workshop are outlined in the Women in Rail Strategy.

To view the Women in Rail Strategy, click here.  

The strategy has been approved by the Passenger Transport Group. In the first instance, the industry will progress recommendations one and four; branding and promotion of the industry and the development of a national framework to assist organisations on their gender diversity journey.


Women in Rail Lunch – 8 March 2017

Individuals and organisations from across the Australasian rail industry met in Melbourne on 8 March 2017 to mark International Women’s Day and to discuss increasing the representation of women in the rail industry.

A Communique from the Women in Rail Lunch is available here.


ARA Gender Diversity Survey
Due to the significant benefits gender diversity brings to the rail sector, improving the gender balance in the Australasian rail workforce is a key focus for the ARA and rail organisations throughout Australasia. It is for this reason that the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), on behalf of the rail industry is gathering data to provide a greater understanding of the gender balance within the Australasian rail workforce. The ARA has asked all its member organisations to complete a Gender Diversity Survey by 1 December 2017.
The information collected will assist the ARA establish benchmarks to track improvements and guide initiatives that the ARA will undertake to address gender diversity. The ARA’s survey is based on the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) diversity questionnaire, which builds on data already available to ensure there is a better representation of the Australian rail workforce. WGEA is an Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, legislated to collect and publish gender employment data from all Australian non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees. While WGEA collects data on the rail transport sector, including a breakdown by passenger rail, freight rail and transport equipment manufacture, only 33 rail organisations across Australia meet its criteria. As we are a sector of over 150 rail organisations, with a large proportion of rail employees, employed by state owned operators, and small and medium enterprises, it is important for us as a sector to have a better representation of our industry to enable us to create greater opportunities through enhanced data collection.
The survey aims to collect data from an organisational level to report on employees who ‘support the development and function of the Australasian railway network and its supply chain’. All information collected will be de-identified with high level aggregated data be made publicly available to assist the ARA and the sector more broadly in setting the policy agenda, driving policy change, government lobbying and awareness building activities. The reporting period of the survey aligns with WGEA reporting period of 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, to allow WGEA reporting employers to resubmit the same data.
A copy of the survey is available here.



More Information

For more information, please contact Natalie Currey via ncurrey@ara.net.au or 02 6270 4512.