The number of females in senior positions in the UK rail industry is shockingly low – just 1% in C-suite roles.

The sector is missing out on a wealth of senior talent and the business benefits gained when organisations improve inclusion and gender balance across their workforce.

SWiFT was created by, and comprises as its core membership, Senior Women in (or Formerly in) UK rail or Transport and their male allies.

An integral part of Women in Rail, SWiFT provides space and support for its executive members through a peer-to-peer network and fosters the development of high potential women in our industry to help them progress their career and transition to more senior roles.

Welcoming male allies, SWiFT sends a clear message of collaboration between genders and a commitment from both male and female executives to improve diversity in senior leadership roles and an expectation of strong support and inclusion for women within the workforce.

SWiFT’s overall objective is to shift the dial in respect to the number of women in executive positions in the UK rail sector and, in line with Women in Rail’s core values, to further promote equality, diversity and inclusion, with a particular focus on executive grades and roles.

To gain a clearer picture of the challenges preventing women joining, remaining and, crucially, climbing the career ladder within the industry SWiFT launched a survey of senior leaders in UK rail.

The SWiFT (Women in Rail): Rail Industry Executive Survey results cast a spotlight on the perceived barriers to improving gender balance at senior level and positive suggestions to create a more gender inclusive culture to support the progression of women in leadership roles.

The survey findings are informing and guiding SWiFT and Women in Rail events and initiatives.

Read the SWiFT (Women in Rail): Rail Industry Executive Survey report here.

The Women in Rail SWiFT initiative is delivered in partnership with Connected Leaders, a programme that brings together senior individuals from across the rail sector to work collaboratively to resolve collective challenges.

SWiFT and Women in Rail use the words “woman”, “women” and “female” to span the nine protected characteristics including age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexual orientation, as well as broader behavioural and background diversity, such as thinking and personality types, socio-economic background and life experience and include women who are transitioning and non-binary people.