Happy International Women’s Day
Today marks the 37th annual International Women’s Day. Along with many other celebrations of equality and diversity, VIA Rail takes this cause to heart.
This year Canada celebrates Strong Women, Strong Canada – Women in Rural, Remote and Northern Communities. As providers of essential transportation to rural areas, this is a topic we at VIA can appreciate.
According to the Census of Canada, women represented 26.6% of the Canadian labour market in 2006. Last year, women were 30.8% of VIA Rail’s workforce, and growing.
We recognize that women are still under-represented in certain professions within the rail industry, and we’re doing our part to change that. Part of the challenge is in attracting equal numbers of qualified men and women from all over Canada to join our varied workforce. Sometimes this is due to differences in the labour market from one province to another, or the individual choices that lead people to choose certain professions.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that we recently saw our first all-woman crew of locomotive engineers operate a VIA train on the Quebec City–Toronto line. It was a proud moment for us and one we hope to see repeated.
To keep things moving in the right direction VIA has a comprehensive Employment Equity Program in place. This year we will launch an internal Employment Equity Network. And in line with this year’s theme, we’ve created outreach programs to ensure that under-represented communities in rural and remote areas are aware of job opportunities at VIA Rail. We may not be perfect, but our focus, as always, is on improvement.
Happy International Women’s Day! We celebrate all the women who work with us, in every department – from the maintenance center to the Board of Directors – and make us proud to be VIA Rail.