Women in Motion (WIM) is a Ferrovie dello Stato project, with the objective being to promote women’s careers in the technical areas of the FS Group and, more generally, in fields with a predominantly male presence.
But WIM is also a step along the broader path of diversity and inclusion that aims towards enhancing all forms of diversity, including gender, within the FS Group and above all regarding the more technical roles.
WIM also serves as a guiding pathway for secondary school and university students. Through a meeting with FS Group mentors, young women are encouraged to undertake technical studies, be informed about job perspectives and equipped with the right tools, such as the motivation, skills and opportunities to better realise their potential and talent. All this is possible thanks to the 100-plus women in the FS Group engaged in the technical areas, who have joined the project and become mentors for students in all respects.
The WIM project has also been reshaped due to the Coronavirus emergency in regards to the means of digital sharing by adopting a webinar format. The first online meeting was held on the occasion of STEMintheCity, the marathon on STEM themes organised by the municipality of Milan on 11 and 13 May 2020. Until the national health emergency is behind us, all WIM meetings will be held in this way both for secondary schools and for broader events, such as the Open Day and Showrooms for orientation. WIM recently participated in Fuori di Banco 2020, a digital orientation event sponsored by the Metropolitan City of Venice.
Professional expectations and career goals depend heavily on social and cultural factors. In particular, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines are very often considered a prerogative of men, also due to the lack of female role models in the technical-scientific sectors.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2020, drafted by the World Economic Forum, compares 153 countries on gender equality, with a particular focus on the prospects of female employment in the professions of the future. At an international level, there has been a widespread improvement in women’s participation in traditionally-male sectors, especially in the educational field. Italy came in 76th place, gaining only one position compared to the 2018 ranking.
Research conducted by the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn on new professions revels how roles in Data and AI, Engineering and Cloud Computing are still mainly covered by men, whilst most professions related to the cultural sector and content production are carried out by women.
The situation regarding new professions in Italy
In the past, the railway sector was characterised by a prevalently male presence. The first chance for women to work with Ferrovie dello Stato was the competitive exam for “Applied Shorthand Typist Assistant” in 1961. Before that, women were only hired during the war if they were the orphans or widows of railwaymen.
As Italian society and culture began to change in the mid-1960s, women began finding employment in positions directly connected to rail transport.
In 1964, Ludovica Manganella became the first woman to hold a managerial role in a high technology sector. She went on to have a long and prestigious career in the company, acting as a role model for all female colleagues who came after.
Today, 43% of FS “front line staff” are women, thanks to targeted recruitment campaigns for onboard and customer service staff. Despite these encouraging figures, the FS Group continues to promote women entering the workplace – especially in the technical areas – and will not rest on its laurels. Women in Motion is a project that favours this path, flanking the efforts to raise awareness and training in support of women’s leadership.
Women’s presence in the FS Group is constantly growing: today, 18.2% of positions – both executive and non-executive – are held by women, in line with the Group’s actions to reduce the gender gap (Source: 2020 Sustainability Report). FS Italiane is the third company in Italy in STEM, as confirmed by the results of the Universum Most Attractive Employers Italy 2021 study. In addition, in 2020 FS Italiane was nominated as Italy’s Best Employer for Women, achieving a score of 100/100 from the Hubert Burda Media Institute. These results testify to the Group’s commitment to promoting the talents of and careers for women in technical fields.
In 2017, FS Italiane signed the Valore D Manifesto at LUISS Guido Carli University, supporting and enhancing women’s 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. Since the same year, the Group has been a member of the Women in Transport EU Platform for Change, arising from the initiative of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) to promote good practices on issues of women’s employment and gender balancing in the transport sector. Women in Motion has become a leading action within the platform.
In December 2019, the Strasbourg Parliament hosted Women in Transport Talks, a conference organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the transport industry. Representing FS was Ilaria De Dominicis – Director of Strategies, Planning, Regulation and Sustainability of Trenitalia – who confirmed the Group’s alignment with the European strategy that aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and protect the environment and ecosystems.
In March 2020, the Group formally joined the WEPs (Women Empowerment Principles) established by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of WOMEN (UN Women), through which Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane intends to enhance and promote the presence of and equal opportunities for women in the workforce and in their communities.