WOMEN-ONLY shortlists to recruit train drivers should be introduced to boost "pitiful" female representation in a male dominated industry, campaigners have said.

The call came after it was revealed that just 4 per cent of train drivers are women in Scotland.

Women hold just 62 out of the 1,566 posts in Scotland, according to the train drivers' union Aslef.

Scotland's figure of 4 per cent for women rail drivers was lower than a rate of 6 per cent for the UK as a whole.

There was also only one female freight driver out of 154 in Scotland. The figure means just 0.6 per cent of freight drivers in Scotland are women compared to a UK-wide figure of 1.5 per cent.

Aslef has raised the "woefully low number" of female train drivers in a resolution submitted to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) women’s conference on October 31.

However, Aslef's Scottish secretary Kevin Lindsay said rail companies should adopt all women shortlists to redress the balance.

Lindsay said the lack of women train drivers was caused mainly by male managers repeatedly hiring men.

He said: "It's hugely concerning that Scotland has got the worst percentage in the UK. It's a shocking figure, but it's because of the recruitment policies of the companies and we're trying to get them to address that.

"But the real problem is that a lot of the people doing the interviewing give jobs to people like themselves and you often have middle aged men who do the interviews.

"The number of female drivers is pitiful. The company should consider positive action. Only all women shortlists can address this issue."

Meanwhile, Aslef's resolution to the STUC states: “That this Conference is shocked to learn that in Scotland there is only one female train driver working in the freight sector. This woefully low number is not acceptable in 21st century society.

"Whilst freight has never attracted high numbers of female drivers, they have increased in England and Wales leaving Scotland trailing behind."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said ministers had taken steps to improve gender equality in the workplace.

Scotland's rail operator the ScotRail Alliance has to promote equal opportunities as part of its contractual obligations, the spokeswoman said.

The Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland’s female unemployment rate continues to be lower than the UK average.

"Our actions to promote female participation in the workplace and tackling the gender pay gap sets us apart from the rest of the UK, this applies to the transport sector.

“We make equal opportunities and paying the living wage contractual requirements for the ScotRail franchise.”

A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson added: “We are working hard to have a more gender-balanced workforce and encourage more women to consider working for ScotRail, in all areas of our business.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA), which represents freight train companies, said its members were striving to recruit more women drivers.

Chris MacRae, FTA’s head of rail freight, said: "The freight industry is always keen to recruit the brightest, most enthusiastic talent of both sexes to the sector, and as the sector’s leading membership association, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is particularly committed to ensuring that as recruitment is as gender-balanced as possible.

"Freight has traditionally been a male-dominated sector, but times are changing, and at FTA we are working hard to raise the profile of the industry, and the opportunities which it offers for women."