Inspire – our employee network for gender equality

The team behind our gender equality employee network is celebrating a landmark achievement.

Network Rail has been named one The Times Top 50 Employers for Women. The list “celebrates outstanding progress and examples of best practice, impact, innovation, and individual achievement,” says its partner, Business in the Community.

We’re especially proud to have made the list in what is typically a male-dominated industry.

Inspire is one of our six employee networks, which help us support our workforce, particularly through efforts focussed on diversity and inclusion

Emma Evans, co-chair of Inspire, said: “Times are changing and Network Rail is moving with the times and is starting to be recognised as a business that takes gender equality seriously. I hope that this will attract more women will join Network Rail.”

Inspire has had great success in gaining support from colleagues in recent months. It’s grown to 1,250 members, up from 750 in May last year. 

Its strategy for the next year focuses on three main themes: challenging behaviours in the workplace, supporting colleagues in advice and career development and growing awareness of opportunities for women – and of Inspire itself. 

Inspire is increasingly helping employees navigate the changing nature of work – driven by the pandemic – advising them through flexible working and Human Resources.

It also influences policy change at Network Rail and sits on a task force focussed on the future of work. 

Headshot of Emma Evans, co-chair of Inspire employee network
Emma Evans, co-chair of Inspire

Emma said: “Covid challenged us to make flexible working work for office-based staff and we rose to that challenge. We now need to ensure that the progress made in changing attitudes towards flexible working is built upon; I’d like to challenge how we can offer more flexibility to front line staff, be that through job shares or other schemes.” 

Dom Mottram, a sponsor in operational implementation, is co-chair of Inspire and feels strongly that gender equality is an issue we must all get behind.  

He said: “[The Times Top 50 Employers for Women] is a great testament to the fantastic the work undertaken by the Inspire leadership team and the network membership in the last 12 months. The railway has a job for everyone. It is our duty and responsibility within Network Rail to make sure people know what a great place the rail industry is to work. It’s all about attraction, retention and progression.”

Coming up for Inspire are an event with chief executive Andrew Haines about women’s safety, an employee network day in May and one of the biggest events in its calendar – International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June.


Careers films – Inside Network Rail

Gender equality

Life at Network Rail

Films to inspire girls and young women

Watch these films about the fantastic and rewarding career opportunities on the railway …

Read interviews with some of the women who work with us:

Film – Every Day Heroes: Ice Swimmer

Change the Game – Q and A with data manager Chloe Barnett

Change the Game – Q and A with graduate Olivia Woodward

Change the Game – Q and A with apprentice Keneefia Parker

Just Like Me – Q and A with Katie Tingle

Just Like Me: Q and A with Dorota and Emily

Just Like Me: Q and A with pilot Rikke Carmichael

Just Like Me: Q and A with Tara Scott

Just Like Me: Q and A with Helen Warnock

Just Like Me: Q and A with Kamini Edgley