EU & Sector Initiatives

Women in Rail (WiR)

Women account for only 21% of the railway workforce, considerably below the economy wide participation rate of women in the labour market (46%). For some professional categories, this figure is even lower.

To avoid missing out on the many benefits – for all workers – deriving from a diverse and inclusive workplace, CER members have already put in place a wealth of concrete policies and measures in order to advance towards the goal of more diversity. This commitment is carried through at EU level to the social partner negotiations on the issue.

As representatives of rail employers and employees, CER, ETF (European Transport Workers Federation) and their national members are the best suited to jointly identify concrete actions that will attract more women to the sector and improve their working conditions inside companies.

Railway companies and trade unions are convinced that the situation should be changed in order to include the valuable contribution of women, to promote diversity in the workplace, and to align the railway sector with the society in which their customers live.

You can read more about our activities below.


2021 European Social Partner Agreement

In October 2019, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), representing railway sector employers, and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), representing employees, started social partners’ negotiations to promote the employment of women in the rail sector. The negotiations took place in the framework of the Sectoral Social Dialogue set up by the European Commission and resulted in the Women in Rail autonomous agreement signed by CER and ETF on 5 November 2021. 

This binding agreement made history as the first of its kind on gender equality in any sector at EU level. It was also the first binding agreement between rail social partners in 15 years and marked a major achievement and a key milestone of the European Year of Rail.  

Press release
Agreement text


Watch how the agreement came about and what it now means for women in rail

 Video CER ETF WiR cover


Annual 'Women in Rail' (WiR) reports

As an outcome of the CER-ETF-EIM project 'Follow-up of the CER-ETF Joint Recommendations on Better Representation and Integration of Women in the Railway Sector: Implementation – Evaluation – Review' (2011-2012), known as the 'WiR Project', CER and ETF decided to establish annual reporting on the development of women’s employment in the sector.

The objectives of this survey are to gain an overview of the representation of women in European rail enterprises, to keep updated statistical data, to follow the impact of the 2007 CER-ETF Joint Recommendations on better participation and integration of women in the rail sector and to track the developments since the initial WiR report.

With this annual survey CER and ETF also aimed to motivate railway companies to take positive actions as indicated in their Joint Recommendations.

WiR Reports (2014-2020)
WiR Project - Good practices and implementation Guide (2012)
WiR Project - Final Report (2012)
ETF-CER Joint Recommendations (2007)


Find out about the importance of more diversity in rail and what makes it an attractive sector to join:

CER WiR Video play image

Further reading

Commission Study 'Business case to increase female employment in transport' (2019)


2024 Women In Rail Award

For the 2024 edition of the Women in Rail Award, the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking together with the co-organisers, ALE, CER, DG MOVE, ERA and UNIFE will bring the spotlight on winning combinations, inspiring role models, and outstanding research and innovation achievements for Women and by Women that are bringing the railway industry forward.

The Women In Rail Award will focus on the following themes:

  • the Women Empowerment Award, recognising the work of an organization/company that would have implemented measures to ensure gender equality at the workplace;
  • the Leadership and Mentoring Award, recognising the exceptional leadership and mentoring skills of a woman through her concrete actions in favor of women in the railway sector;
  • the R&I in Railway Award, recognising the outstanding work of a women working in engineering or on technical aspects, from academia and/or from the railway industry that positively impacted the European railway industry through research and/or projects implementation.

The call for applications is open to individuals, companies and organisations. The three winners will be invited to the milestone event InnoTrans in Berlin during which a dedicated Award Ceremony will be organised on the 25 September 2024. Winners will be offered the opportunity to present their projects during high-level stakeholders meetings and networking events, as well as develop opportunities within the rail sector. The deadline to apply is fixed on 7 June 2024.