Pro-Rail Alliance introduces a new network for women

Berlin, September 20, 2016. The railway sector is still a classic male domain. Every technology trade fair is dominated by sober-coloured suits and always the same ideas. To help bring about a change of image, Bombardier Transportation’s managing director Susanne Kortendick has set up a women’s network under the Pro-Rail Alliance umbrella. Just in time for the InnoTrans trade fair, the network is presenting a brochure portraying the sector’s most enterprising women as well as the challenges and promises of future job fulfilment that await female specialists and managers in the railway sector. These are questions that Bombardier Transportation’s head of human resources often asks herself in her during a working day.  “With women making up around 20 percent of the rail sector workforce, Germany compares quite favourably with the European average,” said Susanne Kortendick, who is also a member of the Pro-Rail Alliance board and is spokesperson for the more than 135 companies represented in the alliance. “However, I am convinced that we could still inspire considerably more young women and girls to take up more classic technical jobs.”

Nine unusual career paths

A first step has now been taken with the launch of the women’s network. “We are showing the sector that young women contribute new ideas. And we are showing young women that our sector offers enterprising female applicants the best career opportunities.” Kortendick referred to the network’s birthday brochure with examples of nine women who describe their unusual and successful career paths in the railway sector. Women who are interested will find personal female contacts at Abellio, Bombardier, BUG Verkehrsbau, Deutsche Bahn, the Hamburg Port Authority, Hering, Siemens, Spitzke and Transdev. “Because every career path is individual we want to address women individually.” The companies in the transport sector, Kortendick said, should remember one thing: “Half of our customers are female.”

Transport policy dominated by men

Transport policy is also still very much dominated by men. A search on Google for the German for female transport minister (‘Verkehrsministerin’) will ask you if you actually meant the male version (‘Verkehrsminister’). The algorithm is an unerring reflection of reality. Although the German chancellor and the defence minister are women, and women have made it into the top echelons of the political parties, the federal transport minister’s chair has been occupied by men ever since the dawn of democracy. The question of whether a woman will ever be Germany’s federal transport minister was given an encouraging answer by Kathrin Schneider, the transport minister of the state of Brandenburg: “I can well imagine that happening,” said the SPD politician at the launch of the women’s network. “The term ‘transport’ has now become far too narrow. Today it is all about developing a ‘mobility strategy’,” said Schneider, who believes in the power of female perception. “Maybe a woman would be at an advantage because women excel at joined-up thinking.”

Women’s network: technology that inspires women

At the InnoTrans trade fair, the railway’s new cross-sector network is presenting itself with a podium discussion covering the issues: What kind of technology are women interested in? What does a successful woman’s average working day look like? Are there role stereotypes that hinder certain career paths or prevent women enjoying their jobs?


Additional information (German):

The goals: what the women’s network wants to achieve

The magazine: rail sector careers: nine women – nine career paths

The film: girls, the railways are waiting for you!


Taking part in the discussion on ‘technology that inspires’:

  • Nicole Grummini, designated U-Bahn head at BVG
  • Virgine Hindley, Head of Conventional Train Control at Bombardier Transportation
  • Susanne Kortendick, Member of Executive Board at Bombardier Transportation
  • Dr. Corinna Salander, Chair of Vehicle Technology at the university of Stuttgart
  • Janine Vollborn, technical systems planer at bei Stadler Pankow
  • Barbara Mauersberg, press officer for the Pro-Rail Alliance (host)

Location: Career Forum in the Career & Education Hall 7.1c

Time: September 21, 2016, from 11.15 to 12.00