International Women’s Day: top engineering questions answered

This International Women’s Day, women from the railway and beyond answer some of the internet’s most asked questions about science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM).

Engineering and STEM subjects are often thought of as difficult, male-dominated and for a certain type of scientifically-minded person – ‘not for me’, many people will say.

But that’s not true. Engineering and STEM are for everybody. In fact, they touch on so many parts of our lives that whatever you’re interested in, there’s a career path for you – from design to helping wildlife.

So we called up some of our amazing engineers on the railway plus Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of Stemettes; Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Finding Ada, and tech start-up One Big Circle to answer some of the internet’s most commonly asked questions about the fields we love.

Watch Autocomplete: Engineering questions answered …



STEM subjects opens a lot of doors.

Kamini Edgley, director of safety and engineering, Network Rail

We live in a world that depends on STEM.

Suw Charman-Anderson, founder, Finding Ada and Ada Lovelace Day

Surprising careers

Engineers – and the people they work with – come from all different backgrounds and disciplines. You’ll probably struggle to find two engineers the same!

And there’s so much more to the railway than laying track and maintaining our basic infrastructure.

Did you know we have our own architects, 3D modellers, tech research and development teams and even virtual reality trainers? If you like creativity and problem-solving, it’s the place for you!

Five times tech changed the railway

Research, development and technology

Computer-generated image of a train from one of our virtual reality simulations
Virtual reality means we can train people more safely
Railway workers holding bats.
Trying to protect wildlife is part of our work every day on the railway

Then there are our environmental experts, who help us look after all the land we own around Britain.

They make sure we limit and offset our impact on the ground around the railway and biodiversity. It means helping protected species like bats, great crested newts and rare bees, moths and butterflies.

Come and join us if you dream of turning your love for wildlife and the outdoors into a rewarding career.

Seven jobs you didn’t know existed on the railway

Q and A with Michelle Chrabalowski, environment specialist

Q and A with ecologist Nathaniel Legall

Employer of choice

At Network Rail, we’re working hard to become a more inclusive environment and to encourage more girls and women to explore career opportunities on the railway.

We will continue to provide an environment that helps everyone to be the best that they can be. The differences between us are what add depth, strength and creativity to our work, allowing individuals and teams to harness their talent and capabilities and help improve our railway.

We aspire to make the best use of our people’s talent and capabilities and to provide real opportunities for their professional development. 

There’s more to do – but the success of our work on diversity and inclusion, and the excitement of being part of the biggest transformation of Britain’s rail industry in history, are starting to make Network Rail an employer of choice. In fact, in 2021, we were 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.

Inspire – our employee network for gender equality 

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

Its strategy focusses 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. 

Find out more about Inspire and its fantastic work.

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

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