Pauline Carwood

"30 years ago women didn't drive trains"

Pauline Cawood has been a train driver for 20 years and was one of the first members of the Women’s Committee within ASLEF the train drivers’ union.

  1. I challenge without fear

“I came into the rail industry 22 years ago very quiet, very nervous and now I’m a completely different person. My confidence is massive, I challenge things without fear, I’ll ask the awkward questions.”

“I hate injustice and I hate inequality because we’re all the same and I firmly believe that if something is wrong then challenge it, deal with it and if I’m to be the one to do it, I’ll do it!”

  1. I thought I could improve things

“Branch meetings were usually a room full of men shouting at each other and I thought that I might just be able to improve things. I was the first female Health and Safety rep for my depot and it just snowballed from there.”

  1. I helped negotiate equal pay

“When I went to ASLEF meetings, something just clicked and something felt right that this is what I should be doing. The training that I received from the TUC college and courses, helped me negotiate equal pay at my company.”

  1. We share expertise

“The Women’s TUC is so supportive. I was fortunate enough to meet some inspirational women. When you speak to women like that and you listen to their experience and advice, you think, ‘I’m going back, I’m doing that!’”

  1. Together we’ve made changes

“You need to stand together when things are not good. If we’ve got a fragmented workforce it’s very difficult to achieve what we want. We wouldn’t have many of the things that make life better for people in my job without the trade unions and without the TUC.”

“I’ve been called an ice queen, but so what? We’ve made changes! I’ve not done it on my own, it’s with other people as well, but if people just sit back and accept their lot then they end up with an unhappy one. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and just say it, just challenge it and you’ll be surprised what can happen.”