WOMEN IN RAIL 2023: PAYING IT FORWARD
OTTAWA, Oct. 15, 2023 – Four college students with dreams of making their careers in rail are getting help with their tuition as the first recipients of new scholarships supported by the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and its annual Women in Rail conference.
“Women in Rail is all about breaking down barriers to gender equality, shattering glass ceilings, and getting more women working at our railways – in yards, on trains, in offices, and in boardrooms,” says Marc Brazeau, RAC’s President and CEO. “Over the last few years, Women in Rail has become more than an event. It’s become a movement. These scholarships are an important way for us to pay it forward to the next generation of female railroaders.”
The scholarships are from the proceeds of Women in Rail 2023, which took place in June. It was the first time in the conference’s history that attendees were asked to pay a registration fee. And a record number of participants RSVP’d yes – especially when they heard about the scholarship program.
All four of these post-secondary institutions offer specialized training to prepare young people for careers in rail, including as conductors. Each institution is also an RAC Associate Member.
“Canadian railroaders are – to a person – passionate about what they do. The job is in their blood, almost part of their DNA,” says Janet Greene, RAC’s Director, Member Engagement, and the lead organizer of the Women in Rail conference. “Sharing that passion and paving the way for others was highly appealing to our attendees this year.”
She adds: “Everyone wants to work with purpose and have a positive impact on others along the way. This is yet another way Canadian railroaders are giving back – for themselves and for the future.”
Despite more women occupying high-profile and leadership positions at several Canadian railways, the most recent available StatsCan data show that female railroaders make up 11.8% of the Canadian rail labour force. RAC is committed to supporting and celebrating the women who keep trains moving, and to growing the ranks of female railroaders. This includes attracting more young people to rail professions.
The dates for Women in Rail 2024 will be announced early next year.