Northern turns spotlight on women working in rail industry to celebrate International Women's Day

In just three years – between 2017 and 2020, the number of women working for Northern has increased by 33 per cent and more than 1200 are now employed in a variety of roles across the business. 

By Laura Andrew
Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:35 pm

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Northern is turning the spotlight on the women who work for one of the UK’s biggest train operators.

Lou Mather, HR Business Partner and Equality Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said: “Everyone has unconscious bias, it's just the way we are as humans.

“We want to ensure women, and everyone else, have a fair experience during the hiring process – so we are going to start blind recruitment later this year.

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International Women's Day is celebrated at Northern.

“This basically means redacting information such as gender, ethnicity and age on a CV - before it goes to shortlisting - that could give away someone’s background.”

Claire Rowland – Head of Sales and Marketing, said: “To say that the rail industry is historically an industry dominated by men is true, but I think the keyword there is historically.

“At Northern there is a genuine desire and drive to be more inclusive – they are taking decisive action to tackle gender imbalances.

“I’d advise women to not make assumptions and follow opportunities with an open mind – things are changing.

"We need great people from different backgrounds and experiences driving ideas and innovation – it’s not only about being the best representation of an ethical company, but it’s also important for business success.”

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Julia Wraithmell – Head of Transpennine Route Upgrade Service Performance, said: “I wanted to join somewhere that would let me have a career and let me be me.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work in lots of different roles – ranging from a number of operational roles to leading the engineering team at Neville Hill depot.”

“I was often the only women in the room, but I never felt that it mattered.

“Respect has always been mutual, and I think that’s a good mindset to have.

“The business has always been accommodating, I am a mother and flexible working arrangements are available for everyone, although I have never needed to apply, the business has always been accommodating if I needed time for my daughter.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.