International Women’s Day 2021 – we choose to challenge

This International Women’s Day we #ChooseToChallenge.

Today, women from across the railway share why it’s a fantastic place to work and how you can make a difference by joining us.

Watch this video to find out how the railway is changing – and we’re changing with it:



Careers at Network Rail

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 is 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.

“Challenge today to change the future”

Kamini Edgley (featured in header image), one of our most senior engineers and director of Engineering and Asset Management, said it was important to challenge today to change the future.

Video: Chloe Barnett, a data manager, talks about change on the railway

She said: “I choose to challenge gender inequality because I want everybody to have an equal opportunity to deliver their full potential. I want to stop the leaking pipeline, which is the more you climb the corporate ladder, the less women you see. I want to break the glass ceiling and to stop women facing difficulties, right from the very beginning of their career.”

Emma Evans, a project manager in Capital Delivery at Network Rail and co-chair of Inspire, our employee network for gender equality, said: “The world is changing and Network Rail needs to change. We all have a role to play in holding people to account and challenging – challenging processes, performance and attitudes.   

“Through challenging we can improve Network Rail as a business but also we can make it into an organisation that better reflects society in 2021; it’s a win-win. Gender equality is still an issue in Network Rail and by challenging this and looking at areas where gender equality works, we can learn from each other.” 

Early careers

Graduate schemes


Inspire – our employee network for gender equality 

Headshot 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

It’s 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. 

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: “My mum and grandma are very independent women so I’ve always grown up in that environment that nothing is ever impossible … There should be no boundaries to what you can accomplish.” 

He said it was important that everyone, men included, see and experience the benefits of gender equality: “We all need to be in this together. We all need to support each other, as we should with all our colleagues and passengers, regardless of their protected characteristics…” 

Films to inspire girls and young women

We have lots of films about the exciting world of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Share them with young enthusiasts and help us inspire the next generation of engineers:

Just Like Me

Britain’s first all-female train journey (International Women’s Day celebration 2020)

Trackside Tara and 300 tonnes of concrete

Click here for more videos about what it’s like to work on the railway.

Read more:

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Educational resources for children

Gender equality

Life at Network Rail

Graduate schemes


Summer placements

Year in industry placements

World Engineering Day 2021: six awesome engineering projects on the railway