Adeline Ginn MBE, Founder and Chair of Women in Rail and Legal and Marketing Director at CPMS – Egis and Ruth Busby, HR Director at GWR and Co-Chair of Women in Rail South Regional Group on the EDI Charter Working Group

On 6 November 2020, Women in Rail (WR) and the Railway Industry Association (RIA) jointly launched an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter. The aim of the Charter is to foster a coordinated effort to create a fairer, more diverse and inclusive sector, stimulate innovation and better decision making for the benefit of our industry as a whole.

The Charter is open for signature by all companies in the railway and by the end of March 2021, we had 160 signatories, representing a broad range of organisations within rail and demonstrating our industry’s commitment to working together to drive the changes needed to create a more diverse and inclusive sector.

For Women in Rail, it was essential that the Charter be not only a symbol of commitment but also an instrument of fundamental change that would yield positive long-term results for our sector. The Charter had to result in EDI being woven in – expected – throughout all grades and roles within the railway, not bolted on.

Shortly after the launch, we proposed the creation of a Working Group, comprising individuals from under-represented groups, which would be representatives of the diverse and inclusive rail industry the Charter seeks to celebrate and grow. Our ambition was for the Group to educate rail companies on the issues faced by under-represented communities and on what we can do, as individuals, leaders and as an industry, to make the railway more attractive and create an environment where everyone feels understood, able to bring their whole self at work and thrive in their career.

With RIA, we reached out to our networks and we agreed on eleven individuals who represent a broad spectrum of rail organisations within the industry, a wide range of different roles and responsibilities within our sector, different stages of professional careers in rail and the diversity our industry is ambitious for in terms of their backgrounds, ages, ethnicity, abilities and identities. The Group is also gender balanced.

On the Working Group, Women in Rail and RIA act as facilitators, to ensure that Group members have the support they need to drive change. However, the Group’s leadership comes from within, with Charlie Woodhead, Accessibility & Inclusion Manager at LNER, as Chair.

Building the sense of team amongst the group from the outset was crucial. Ruth brought her extensive experience of strategic thinking and facilitated the first three group meetings, running Magic and Baggage and MINTO sessions to ensure everyone not only got to know each other but also started giving some thoughts to their own role within the group and the broader EDI Charter effort. The sessions allowed group members to utilise strategic thinking approaches to define their vision and ensure their future activities are impactful.

It has been energising and inspiring to facilitate such a brilliant Group.

Our role, as established leaders, is to amplify their quiet voices and give them the platform they need to educate us on what the railway can do to promote positive change and move towards a more inclusive and diverse industry.

To sign up or find out more about the Joint WR and RIA EDI Charter, please e-mail: info@edicharter.co.uk