A RAIL company has just received special recognition for their work in improving equality, diversity and inclusion in the rail industry. 

The north of England train operator, Northern, received the plaudits at the Women in Rail awards on May 19. 

The operator, which employs almost 7,000 people, was picked out of 300 nominations and shortlisted entries in the awards ceremony dedicated to celebrating the contribution of women to the UK rail industry. 

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The awards are aimed at showcasing those who have made significant contributions when it comes to addressing gender balance, inclusion and diversity. 

Northern earned the congratulatory message after they launched a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy in 2020- with the aim of creating a culture where everyone who works for them and travels on their services feels included and valued.

50 colleagues volunteer from across the business to advise on how equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything Northern does and the group have spearheaded continuous EDI based learning and development, raised awareness of key issues and helped to introduced workplace policies on menopause, domestic violence support, becoming a parent and transgender support. 

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Emma Yates, Northern’s programme director said: "The Women in Rail Awards is a very important occasion that celebrates the contribution and opportunities for women across the UK rail industry. 

"We have worked extremely hard to make sure that we are an equal, diverse and inclusive business for both our customers and our colleagues, and it is fantastic news that the judges gave us special recognition for our work in this area. 

"We are continually working on our strategy to attract the best and most diverse people into Northern and we will work with all our communities to let everyone know that Northern and the rail industry is a great place to be with opportunities for all.” 

 Northern was also shortlisted for the Women in Rail Social Inclusion award for its work with young and diverse communities in West Yorkshire. 

Northern’s commitment to EDI was a reason that attracted Tahira Bibi, the UK’s first female Pakistani train driver to the industry.

"Representation in any industry matters because it shapes how people from minority backgrounds are viewed by wider society and how they view themselves. Representation allows people to feel validated and create a team environment where ideas are diverse, perspectives are varied, and everyone feels different," she said.

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