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Business & Human Resources

A new era for Vienna's public transport provider: Meet the incoming all-female management team

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  • Women in public transport
The leadership at Wiener Linien is changing...

Meet those leading the way

In November of this year, Alexandra Reinagl, Petra Hums and Gudrun Senk will take the leadership reins of Wiener Linien.

With an an all-female management team, a new era for the Austrian capital’s public transport provider will start.

Alexandra, now already in charge for operations and sales, will advance to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Petra, who already joined the management board at the beginning of the year, will continue to be responsible for human resources, finances, legal affairs and I.T. Vehicles and construction will become the remit of Gudrun.

With more than 8700 employees, Wiener Linien is a leading employer in the city and a source of immense pride for Vienna’s residents.

At UITP, we have placed a strong focus on Women in Leadership by developing the debate around the role of women in our sector.

At a global level, between 15-22% of the workforce within public transport are women: you cannot aspire to be, what you cannot see.

In order to attract more women to jobs across our sector, public  transport must be more customer oriented and redress this imbalance.

For International Women’s Day and the #BreakTheBias approach, we’re sitting down with Alexandra, Petra, and Gudrun to hear their thoughts on Wiener Linien’s incoming new management board.

Alexandra, Petra and Gudrun...

Talk us through the future of Wiener Linien

Q: This year, you will take over the management of Wiener Linien and will therefore be leading one of the city’s largest employers into the future as an all-female management team. Can you tell our readers about this “new era for Vienna’s public transport”?

Alexandra: It is really exciting that by the end of this year three women will be running Vienna’s public transport provider. This is an important step in achieving gender equality in our company. One of our biggest aims is to extend our leading position in the field of sustainable transport. We want to build a greener future for the next generation. In order to accomplish this, we will work closely together and share our experience and expertise. It is amazing to see the role women can have in determining what the world looks like.

Q: The focus of this year’s International Women’s Day is all about gender equality, equity, and inclusion with #BreakTheBias…at UITP we’re working hard to highlight our own role and also that of our members. Will Wiener Linien recognise the day?

Gudrun: In my eyes, this day symbolises the equality of women and men. Women and men must be treated equally, with regard to payment and career opportunities. Unfortunately, this does not go without saying everywhere.

Petra: As realising equal economic independence for women and men is paramount, Wiener Linien pays special attention to measures tackling the gender pay gap, part-time work, equal opportunities in entrepreneurship and measures to improve the reconciliation of work, family and private life for both women and men.

Alexandra: We will also recognise the day with various actions. On our social media channels, we want to make the work of our female employees more visible. Seven days, seven women: For a whole week, women will introduce themselves and explain their work. The women at Wiener Linien not only bring expertise, but also generate new ideas and solutions. They are absolutely indispensable for the development of our company. And we want the whole world to know!

Q: What’s next for Wiener Linien and public transport in Vienna? Do you have plans set for later in 2022 when you will take the leadership reins?  

Alexandra: 2022 will be the year of freedom of mobility. To reach this goal, we will put the focus of our investments in the expansion of public transport and sharing-services (car, bikes, scooters,…) under our umbrella-brand ‘WienMobil’. One of our biggest projects is the construction of a new underground line (U2xU5). In addition, the tramway system will be modernised and developed even further over the next few years. E-mobility has also become a major topic for us. We want to guarantee a climate-friendly future where the people of Vienna will not necessarily need a car anymore.

Petra: We also want to introduce a more modern company structure. That is why a separate unit for diversity management will be created this year. Countless studies indicate that the promotion of diversity and tolerance can enhance the way employees work together. We are a dynamic company and operate as a network from various cultures and nations. Therefore, this step is extremely important to us. Although we recorded a slight increase in our female employment rate in 2021, it is not nearly enough. There is still much to be done in order to achieve equality. For this reason, we will continue to further strengthen the role of women at Wiener Linien over the next years.

Q: As part of our focus on women in the sector, we have said that “you cannot aspire to be, what you cannot see…” meaning that women need to be seen at all levels of public transport for leadership roles to be any every day occurrence. It’s a big question, but what do you think needs to be done to move this forward, and more quickly?

Petra: As we move forward as the new management team of Wiener Linien, we hope to create a positive impact and energy in our workplace. We want to boost career opportunities and promotion prospects for women. We also aim to motivate women to come work with us because of various benefits such as flexibility over work hours or special trainee programs.

Gudrun: The public transport industry offers women who show interest in technology and technical skills promising career opportunities with a good salary. Currently, Wiener Linien provides a second chance education program for women. They are aged between 20 and 50 and come from different disciplines. In this program the organisation helps women to become electrical engineers. After completing the shortened training course, they can start working with Wiener Linien right away. Having understood that promoting women is economically advantageous for us as a company, we made the decision to further invest in this program. We strongly believe that these well-trained women will be our future. As the new leading team, we hope that young women see us and think: “I can do this too! I’ve got what it takes!

Thank you to Alexandra, Petra and Gudrun for taking the time to talk us through the future of Wiener Linien and for their wise words on women in leadership. 

Stay tuned for more from UITP and our members on International Women’s Day this week and next! #BreakTheBias

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