Coinciding with the 175th anniversary of the railway in Spain, the AstonRail team at theUniversity of Malaga (UMA), with the support of the School ofIndustrial Engineering and the Vice-rectorate for Equality, Diversity and SocialAction of the UMA, has organised the second edition of the “Women in the railway sector”world-cafe. This event brought together 5 female professionals from the rail sector with students currently studying at UMA to raise awareness about career opportunities in this field, being one of the focal points of employment for younger professionals and early careers.An event held on 9 May, was organized with the purpose of bringing employment opportunities to students and reducing the gender gap in the railway sector, where women represent only 25.6% at the moment. 5 female professionals from the railway sector, who have reached leading positions (where they only represent 16%, according to data from the Spanish Railway Foundation),shared their experience with students from various UMA degrees. Group activities were organized in 5working tables using the World-Cafe methodology. This dynamic promoted and facilitated dialogue and interaction in a relaxing environment. STEM (and non-STEM) vocations were also promoted amongst the participants, especially amongst female students seeking careers in Computer Science, Telecommunications and Industrial Engineering, there is also a gender gap among new students (according to data from theIV Equality Plan of UMA).Some of the 5 female professionals who participated, were former UMA graduates:

  • Rocío Bueno, head of operational railway safety at Metro Málaga. Belén García, area manager of Vectalia Rail.
  • Ana Rosas, head of communication and external relations at MetroMálaga.
  • Begoña Tiscar, head of main line area at Siemens Mobility and secretaryof the board of directors at the Railway Innovation Hub.
  • María Gracia, head of planning at Metro Málaga.

The event was funded by the Vice-rectorate for Equality, Diversity and SocialAction and the UMA School of Industrial Engineering, and supported by theUniversity Institute for Gender and Equality Research (IGIUMA) and the Vice-rectorate for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the UMA. Metro Málaga was once again a sponsor of the event and Vectalia Rail, Siemens, Cemosa and Railway Innovation Hub collaborated.This world-café was organised by the AstonRail team at UMA (inc.Sergio Postigo and Juan J. Castillo, lecturers at the School of Industrial Engineering, and Isabel Ruiz, lecturer at the Faculty of Communication and Pablo J. Salas, PhD student at the UMA). AstonRail, an Erasmus+ co-funded project, ending in August 2023, developed a set of tools (methods, approaches and innovative practices) aiming at innovating the railway higher education provision in Europe and thus creating more rail-focused job opportunities for future generations.

The project and the event was featured in the reginoal tv channel from Andalucia in Spain.