Women in Motion Project: careers for women in the technical area of the FS Italiane Group

Present today in Vicenza are Gioia Ghezzi, President of FS Italiane and Renato Mazzoncini, MD and Director General of FS Italiane

Vicenza, 19 May 2017

Careers for women in the technical areas of FS Italiane Group. It is the spirit and aim of the WIM (Women in Motion) projectthe diversity management campaign backed by FS Italiane Group and supported by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, in association with “Valore D” – an association of companies that support diversity, talent and female leadership – to encourage women to have careers in technical areas and with professional roles which are still almost exclusively male preserves.

The number of women in the FS Italiane Group is still actually low: they are only 14.6% of the whole workforce. It is a figure that falls to 2.5% in maintenance and 0.8% amongst train drivers. These are not satisfactory numbers for the company, and have led to reflection and subsequently to concrete action. Because of this FS Italiane has fostered an in-house programme of change management aimed at the maintenance areas of Trenitalia and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana. The aim is to analyse the workplace situation of women in these areas, improve the professional situation and break down the cultural barriers and stereotypes linked to the presence of women in roles that have been historically considered to be done by men. 

WIM (Women in Motion) has been developed both externally and internally: around 100 women mentors from FS Italiane, who have been suitably trained, have met with girls and women studying at middle schools, secondary schools and universities throughout Italy to help give them direction in choosing a technical study course, and to illustrate the work opportunities and the openings that the company offers in specialist sectors.

The project was presented today, in the presence of male and female students from secondary schools from throughout Italy, in the routine maintenance workshops of Trenitalia in Vicenza (which maintains the FrecciarossaFrecciarossa 1000 and Frecciargento trains). The presentation was made by Gioia Ghezzi, President FS Italiane, Renato Mazzoncini, Managing Director and Director General FS Italiane, Barbara Morgante, Managing Director and Director General Trenitalia, Claudia Cattani, President Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, Mauro Ghilardi, Director of the HR Department and Organisation of FS Italiane. 

Other important Italian companies and associations are also involved: AceaAiddaAmarelliAniaFondazione Marisa BellisarioEnelEniPoste ItalianeTerna.

“Working for the FS Italiane Group requires special technical skills. You just have to think that 40% of our graduate employees are engineers”, explains Gioia Ghezzi, President of the FS Italiane Group. “The skills we need”, continued Ghezzi, “are not common today, and are mainly held by men (only 20% of the graduates in technical disciplines and 10% of those who win diplomas in specialist secondary schools are women). This leads to having figures for female employees in the Group which are completely unsatisfactory for us. With the WIM (Women in Motion) project, we want to try to turn this trend around. We have gone to the schools, starting with middle schools, to talk about our technical skills and trades through the voice of our female colleagues who every day work in the building sites, facilities and workshops. Our aim”, concludes Ghezzi, “is to meet girls, and tell them about our world, but also to talk with them, answer their questions, drive their curiosity and push them to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)”.

In the FS Italiane Group we are fully aware that giving value to the presence of women is a business issue”, explains Renato Mazzoncini, Managing Director and Director General of FS Italiane Group. “Talent, statistically, is distributed equally between men and women. What’s more, a lot of research shows that it is often women who apply themselves more to study and get better results. We can’t allow ourselves to ignore 50% of the available talent. Also”, continues Mazzoncini, “as FS Italiane Group we have taken on a very concrete commitment as to the presence of women in managerial positions: a decision taken by the company board aims to lift the percentage of women in line management positions to 20% by 2020 (having started at 11%), and senior management numbers to 30% (from a starting point of 21%). That is an increase of 9% in both these areas of the company”. 

The FS Italiane Group will continue the project in the schools, with the aim of visiting 100 by the year end, to monitor the outcome of the campaign, and to continue to involve female students as Women in Motion ambassadors.