Overcoming cultural barriers: how the presence of women has changed in a typically "male" sector

Photo: Women in rail transport

Our company, one of Italy's largest with more than 100 years of history and present throughout the country, has had a preponderance of male employees ever since its foundation.

Women first got the chance to join FS as "assistant stenographers" in 1961. The only women working in the company before that date were taken on during the war, and mainly because they were orphans or widows of rail workers.

As Italian society and culture began to change in the mid-60s, women began finding stable employment in positions directly involved in rail transport. In 1964Ludovica Manganella became the first woman to hold a managerial role in a high technology content sector within FS. She went on to have a long and prestigious career in the company, acting as a role model for all the female colleagues who came after.

Our commitment to overcoming gender stereotypes and supporting the women of the future

Today, 43% of "front line staff" are women, thanks to targeted recruitment campaigns for on-board and customer service staff. Despite these encouraging figures, the FS Group continues to promote and facilitate women entering the workplace, especially in the technical areas. In 2016, we launched the Women In Motion project in collaboration with "Valore D", a large-enterprise association promoting diversity and female leadership, aiming to promote the careers of women in technical areas and sectors that have been male-dominated until now.

We wanted to get this message out specifically in schools and universities, encouraging students to study technical subjects, informing them about employment opportunities and providing tools to achieve their potential and express their talent (motivationskills and opportunities).

Our efforts to incentivize female leadership

On the theme of gender equality, we have also continued to raise awareness and provide training to support female leadership. As well as investing in initiatives such as Women in Motion, in 2016 we made a concrete difference in recruitment and promotions at various levels. As a result, we saw the first improvements in the percentage of women in management (+1.1% on the prior year).

As a Group we joined the "30% Club" program on 13 May 2016. This is a global campaign to promote female participation in management in the private and public sector. We aim to bring the percentage of women in linepositions to 20% by 2020 (from 11% in 2016) and staff positions to 30% (from 21% in 2016).

The FS Group has recently signed up in person to He For She, an initiative launched by the UN in 2014 aiming to raise awareness and get one billion men involved in actively reducing gender inequalities.

On 12 September 2017, FS Italiane signed the Valore D Manifesto at the LUISS Guido Carli University, which supports and promotes female employment. The planning document aims to set out concrete tools in nine points, in line with the international Global Reporting Initiative standards, to promote female talent in the company.