Has everyone accepted now that women can work in the railway industry - and that we can drive trains, operate signals and maintain track just as well as men?
Good. So long as you don’t mind unsuitable uniforms, no access to the ladies’ for hours on end, the odd bit of sexual harassment, and being only one of a handful of women in your grade and/or workplace. Oh, and don’t go thinking you can have kids and carry on in the job - if the cost of childcare doesn’t get you, the shiftwork will.
Management are overflowing with glossy brochures and fine speeches about equalities, but when push comes to shove, they won’t meet the cost of making working conditions more suitable, and they won’t miss a chance to use sexism to try to divide the workforce against each other.
Faced with the sexism that definitely does still exist, women railworkers want to look to our unions to fight against it. But they still have much room for improvement.
They are all making the right noises about recruiting and involving more women members, but we have to make sure that this is not channelled into powerless talking shops where women just get to sound off. We want more than the right to ‘advise’ the union executive - especially if it is all-male and out-of-touch.
Instead, we need equalities structures which have real teeth and are controlled by rank-and-file women workers.