International Women in Engineering Day 2021

International Women in Engineering Day 2021

Published 23 June 2021 | Average read time
4 min read
Stories Life at Network Rail Stories

This International Women in Engineering Day we’re sharing how the railway offers a huge range of rewarding careers for everyone.

“Whatever your passion is, whatever you’re interested in, you will find a home in the railway.” – Tara Scott, route infrastructure engineer

“Design things and make them come to life. I think that’s quite empowering.” – Emily Pollard, asset engineer

“I love knowing how things work and why things do what they do.” – Katie Tingle, scheme project manager

Watch this film to find out more:

Why is a career on the railway for everyone?

Engineers Emily Pollard and Dorota Durazinska in a meeting room

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a job for you. You’ve probably seen our people on track maintaining and repairing the railway, or upgrading our stations. These jobs are incredibly important to running the railway every single day.

What you might not know is that operating a modern railway requires a wide variety of surprising jobs, from environment officers and ecologists to engineers and experts in virtual reality.

Click here to watch more inspiring careers films.


Trackside Tara and 300 tonnes of concrete

Women rail-blazers spearhead groundbreaking tech

Times Top 50 Employers

In April, we were named as one of the top 50 employers for women in the UK.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women is the UK’s most well-established listing of employers leading the way on workplace gender equality. It celebrates outstanding progress and examples of best practice, impact, innovation and individual achievement.

The landmark achievement is recognition of the progress we’ve made to improve diversity and become a more inclusive employer in what is traditionally, and remains, a predominantly male industry.

Loraine Martins OBE, director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, said at the time: “We are incredibly proud to have been named in this list. It is a reflection of the huge amount of work that has gone in to making Network Rail a more inclusive employer and a better place to work for all. We have made great progress, but we know there is more we can do – and more we will do – to make sure women thrive in our business.”

Inspire – our employee network for gender equality

Head shot of Emma Evans, co-chair of Inspire
Emma Evans, co-chair of Inspire

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. 

Click here to find out more about its work.

All-female signal box makes history

At Sellafield signal box on the Cumbrian Coast Line, three signallers are making history. They’re the first all-female team to entirely operate a three-person-staffed signal box in England since WWII.

Amy Byrne is the newest member of the team, joining Rebecca Rennoldson and Holly Williams.

Amy’s completed three months of theory learning and two months of practical work to retain as a signaller after a career as a helicopter engineer in the Royal Navy.

This International Women in Engineering Day, the team want to encourage other women to consider jobs in the rail industry.

A team of three female signallers stands outside a small, traditional signal box, daytime
The railway gives you the opportunity to build a diverse career, from engineering jobs to operations roles, like our signallers at Sellafield

Amy said: “It’s amazing that just starting work at Sellafield means I’ve made history! Becoming a signaller has been really hard work and involved three months of intensive training in Preston. But now I’m doing it for real I really enjoy that each day is different, and I couldn’t recommend it more as a career.”

The news follows efforts by the rail industry last year to highlight the need to attract more people who may not have considered the railway as a career previously. In March last year, for International Women’s Day, we shared a story about Britain’s first all female-run passenger train, and our first all-female-run shift using cutting-edge track inspection technology.

Read more:

Inspire children to get excited about science, tech, engineering and maths


Women rail-blazers spearhead groundbreaking tech

Educational resources for children

Gender equality

Graduate schemes