The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is urging anyone who supports diversity to get on board and support women in rail – who are critical to the sustainability of the industry – by coming along to an upcoming event in Sydney.
The Women in Rail Networking Lunch will be held in Sydney on August 10 and brings together leaders across the rail industry to share ideas, updates in the industry and make new connections.
With the lunch being held during Rail Safety Week, it is also a great opportunity for colleagues to come together to recognise this important issue and help make the rail network safer.
ARA chief executive officer Caroline Wilkie said the event welcomes people of all genders to come together and celebrate diversity and the incredible women shaping the future of the rail sector.
“With 35 per cent of the industry’s workforce retiring by 2035 and a 70,000-person skills gap, increasing diversity is critical to the industry’s long-term success,” she said.
“The ARA is committed to building a stronger, more diverse rail industry that embraces women to ensure its sustainability.”
Currently, only 24 per cent of rail employees are female, according to the ARA’s 2020-21 Gender Diversity Report. The ARA’s Women In Rail strategy aims to attract and retain women and includes a Mentoring Program to supports women’s career progression.
The keynote speaker at lunch will be Rebecca Hanley from Laing O’Rourke. Within the Laing O’Rourke Group, she has held executive accountability for the Technologies and Innovation Group, where she reinvigorated the company’s portfolio and commercialisation strategy.
Hanley will talk about Laing O’Rourke’s strategy to drive significant change to address core challenges facing the construction sector, including productivity, skills shortages, diversity and safety.
Laing O’Rourke’s gender diversity initiatives have seen their overall female participation rate increase from 26 to 34 per cent. The organisation has also increased the number of females in senior leadership roles from 11 to 19 per cent. An individual is now twice as likely to report to a female manager than they were four years ago on one of their sites.