The railways are no longer just a man's domain: meet the female train drivers
Some depots don’t have female toilets, and children still stare when they see a woman in the driver’s seat, but more is being done to bring gender balance to the railways
Kerry Cassidy was driving trains at 125 miles an hour until she was 37 weeks pregnant. A driver for Great Western Railway on the high-speed route between Plymouth and London Paddington, she bats away any suggestion that the railways are a man’s domain. Modern trains have no need for heavy lifting: long gone are the days of shovelling dirty coal into the engine’s firebox. “As long as you can do the job then gender isn’t really an issue,” she says.
Yet women make up just 5.4% of approximately 19,000 train drivers in Britain, up from 4.2% in 2012, according to Aslef, the train drivers union. Progress on diversity has been slow – in part because staff turnover is low. Many train drivers stay in the job for decades.
To a lot of the men, I was like the proverbial turd in the swimming pool
Source: Guardian Transport