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News article10 December 2021Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport

1st Women in Rail Award launched

The rail sector faces many challenges in a rapidly changing environment, in particular with an ageing workforce and an overall shortage of staff. It is also very male dominated with women representing only around 20% of the workforce. 

The European Year of Rail 2021 is a good opportunity to highlight the cause of women in transport and in rail in particular. Therefore, the railway sector supported by the European Commission’s Women in Transport Platform aims to honour achievements of efforts and work promoting women in the railway sector through a “Women in Rail Award”.

The “Women in Rail Award” is directed and open to any team, company, organisation, or individual from the railway sector having distinguished themselves in one of the 4 categories. Nominations can come from candidates themselves or any interested organisations and parties who have been impacted or inspired by the work of the nominee. Nominations are to be sent to:, using this this templateDeadline for nominations: 17 January, 2022.

An award ceremony is planned to take place in Brussels on International Women’s Day, on 8 March 2022.



    1.  Best employer

    This award recognises a European employer in the railway sector who has gone the extra-mile in making gender-balance a top priority and fully integrated in its day-to-day decisions and DNA.

    • The nominee will have taken concrete and pro-active measures to promote more women in the sector and retain them in the workforce (extra points for female employment rate, female employment rate in senior and middle management, promotions of female staff, etc.).
    • The nominee will have dedicated resources to achieve these measures.
    • The nominee may already be recognised by official labels than might exist at local or national level
    • The nominee will have taken a commitment to have a gender-equal policy, which has led to concrete improvements e.g. in safety, the work environment (including sanitary and other facilities), education and training, career opportunities, care facilities, etc.

    2.  Best initiative against harassment

    This award recognises a European company or organisation in the railway sector, who has developed a strong and successful initiative or programme against (sexual) harassment at the workplace and/or in train stations or on board the trains.

    • The nominee will have worked on various types of harassment, including sexism, and taken the necessary and effective steps, notably staff training, but also infrastructure and organisation related measures to eliminate it.

    This is notably true in terms of prevention, but also management of disputes and sanctions put in place.

    • The nominee should submit a document/report or description of an implemented programme or measures that support that initiative, which shows their approach to managing incidents of harassment and which has ideally already been evaluated.

    3.  Best improvement of inclusion in the workplace

    This award recognises a European company or organisation in the railway sector who has developed a strong and successful social inclusion programme.

    • The nominee has made concrete changes in the workplace to encourage more and better inclusion and make the workplace a more attractive and welcoming environment for all staff, recognising its diversity and respective needs.
    • The nominee has demonstrated a pro-active inclusive and diversity mindset, going beyond the notion of gender. The efforts can also have been made with local communities, for instance to recruit locally.

    4.  Rising Star award
    This award recognises a woman in the railway sector who has demonstrated in the past 2 years exceptional leadership through concrete action in favour of  promoting women in the sector, diversity and inclusion, thus making a positive impact on the company or organisation.

    • This award is open to all female professionals in the railway industry. The nominee can be a new entrant to the sector or be upskilled from another specialisation/career/sector.
    • The nominee can have excelled by illustrating herself in various spheres such as innovation, environment, business, work-life balance, education, etc.
    • The nominee must have inspired and been a role-model to others in the company or organisation with a view to remain an active role-model in the future.


    Publication date
    10 December 2021
    Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport