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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF named one of America's best employers for women

Katie Farmer
Photo – bnsf.com


[Editor's note: This story has been updated with a quotes from Katie Farmer and Judy Carter.]

BNSF Railway Co. has made Forbes' list of America's Best Employers for Women 2021.

The steps BNSF has taken to support its female talent are reflected in its standing on this year’s list, where it climbed 203 places to No. 6, according to an article on the Forbes website. 

"At BNSF we are committed to hiring and retaining talented women at all levels of our company. I wholeheartedly believe that it is our people that set us apart from our competitors," said BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie Farmer in an emailed statement. "We recognize the value it brings to have a diverse workforce, including women and people of color. I am extremely proud that Forbes has recognized our efforts to support the development of our female employees within the rail industry."

When the pandemic began and many businesses were able to have employees work from home, that was not an option for BNSF. The railway still needed to deliver medical supplies, toilet paper and food across the country. 

BNSF added new benefits, including breast-milk shipping, to ease the situation for female employees who could not work from home.

"Our operations leaders were having to literally get on a train, move 12 hours a day and stay in a hotel before they could come back. If you were a nursing mother, it’s very difficult to manage to be able to do that in an operational environment," said BNSF Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Judy Carter in the article.

In January, Farmer became the first woman CEO of a Class I, succeeding Carl Ice.