The Australasian Rail Association (ARA) has released its 2018-19 Gender Diversity Survey, which highlights an increase in women working in rail.

ARA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the survey report confirmed improvements in the number of women working in rail since the last survey was completed in 2016-17.

“Women now make up 27 per cent of the rail workforce, which is a six per cent improvement over the last two years,” Ms Wilkie said.

“More women are also staying in the industry and getting promoted, with 22 per cent of management roles now held by women.

“While it is great to see these improvements across the industry, women’s participation in rail remains below the national average and shows there is still more work to do.”

Ms Wilkie said there had been a stronger focus on gender diversity within the rail industry.

The survey found 86 per cent of participant organisations have formal policies or strategies in place to support gender diversity and more than half have specific recruitment policies or strategies to improve gender balance in their organisations.

About three quarters of participating organisations also had formal policies to support flexible work arrangements in place.

“We have seen a really strong push to attract more women to the industry and retain those already in the industry since our last survey and expect to see further improvements on these outcomes in the near future,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Our Women in Rail Strategy is supporting our members as they build gender diversity across their businesses, and the survey results will help inform this important work over the next 12 months.”

The ARA’s Women in Rail Strategy was launched in 2017 and includes four key focus areas: attraction and promotion; improved networks; retention; and national benchmarking.

“There are so many opportunities for women to build rich and rewarding careers in rail as the industry grows,” Ms Wilkie said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our members to support the achievement of their gender diversity targets.”

A total of 42 organisations working in the rail industry, representing over 50,000 employees participated in the survey.

For the full survey, click here.

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