In 2015, SNCF signed a third agreement “in support of gender balance and equality in the workplace” with all of the unions representing our employees.
The primary goal of the agreement is to increase the percentage of women in our workforce—at all levels and across all job categories—between 2015 and 2018.
We’re working to meet this goal in four key areas:
- making our company and the jobs we offer more attractive to women
- ensuring that career development guidelines are fair
- fighting all forms of sexism
- promoting work-life balance
34,790 women work at SNCF. That’s 22.8% of our workforce, up from 10% in the 1980s
women in administrative positions, versus 7.2% in traction and 13.8% in traffic
9,031 women hold management positions at SNCF. That’s 29% of all managers
What we’re doing
Under our policy of gender balance and equality, we’re working actively to:
- increase the percentage of women in our workforce
- ensure that we offer equal career opportunities to women and men
- make parenting compatible with career advancement
- promote work-life balance
“We’re committed to condemning routine sexism and to helping everyone—male and female—to do the same. The only way to increase gender balance in the workplace is to act together. At SNCF, our values are our strength.”
Marie Savinas, HR Director, SNCF EPIC
Making a difference
We’ve launched many concrete initiatives to promote gender balance and equality, and they’re making a direct impact on the life of our company and our employees—both male and female. Here are just a few examples.
Girls' Day: Gender balance in action
Under this programme, we invite young women from secondary schools across France to spend a day at our facilities, where they’re introduced to the so-called “male” occupations at SNCF. Through on-site visits and conversations with our employees, the young women get a clear picture of the technical jobs in rail—rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance, traffic management, rail safety and more—and can see themselves working in these professions.
Making room for parenting
To ensure that everyone plays by the same rules, we must make it easier to combine parenting with career advancement. To meet this goal, we’ve pledged to:
- offer career counselling to all parents when they return from parental leave (maternity, paternity or adoption)
- ensure that taking parental leave has no impact on compensation
- encourage employees to take parental leave—and facilitate access to it
- fight the “presenteeism” cult with a best practices charter
Fighting all forms of sexism
To fight the sexist stereotypes connected with certain jobs, we actively support recruitment and internal mobility criteria that focus on each candidate’s skills, experience and professional qualifications.
In practice, this policy has generated a number of successful initiatives, including efforts to:
- draft job offers in gender-neutral language
- propose at least one female candidate for each open position
- offer paid internships to attract students in technical disciplines
- showcase women with successful careers at SNCF
- cultivate partnerships with associations to make it easier to recruit women
Meanwhile, the members of our Diversity and Quality of Life at the Workplace unit work hard all year to make our anti-sexism policy a reality on the ground. Efforts include holding awareness workshops for managers, promoting our e-learning course on fighting everyday sexism, and launching a poster campaign against sexual harassment.
SNCF au Féminin: The network for women
Dedicated to women but open to men, SNCF au Féminin was created to push the boundaries of gender balance and equality within the Group. Concretely, the network helps women build and manage successful careers through female leadership training and mentoring programmes.
“It’s true that my line of work doesn’t attract many women, but I’m thriving on it. My team gave me a warm welcome from the moment I arrived, and I’ve never had a problem. Their trust in me is very empowering.”
Bettina, 32, electrical signalling technician