NETWORK Rail’s Wales and Western region, which includes the South West, is celebrating female engineers as they hope to inspire more women into engineering with a competition.

This celebration comes after International Women in Engineering Day, which occurred on June 23, and follows new research which highlights a lack of female role models within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sectors.

A Network Rail survey of more than 2,000 16 to 21 year-olds in Great Britain, conducted by Savanta ComRes, showed that two-thirds (64 per cent) of total participants and three quarters (77 per cent) of young women asked felt there were not enough female role models within STEM.

Only 26 per cent of females intended to pursue careers in STEM fields.

When participants were asked if they recognised famous names and faces of STEM figures, more than 80 per cent were familiar with male figures such as Steven Hawking but only 18 per cent knew of Ada Lovelace, who is credited as the first computer programmer for her visionary work in computer science in the 19 century.

In response to this survey, Network Rail has launched an exciting new competition, open to all aged 5 to 14, aimed at promoting the work of female engineers and inspiring the next generation with the fantastic inventions and feats of engineering from women through history.

Director of diversity and inclusion for Network Rail, Loraine Martins said: "We know that more diverse gender-balanced teams are more engaged, more collaborative, more motivated and safer. Promoting positive female role models is a great way of providing inspiration for future generations to join us.

"I’m delighted we’re running this competition to promote their work, and I hope this will inspire young people, change perceptions and make these positive female role models more visible and relatable to the next generation of engineers."

Children are invited to consider what our world would be like without the work of a female engineer and create a poster or a story to explain their findings.

Entries will be displayed on screens at Network Rail’s stations in a celebration of the impact female engineers have had on the world.

One male and one female winner will also be selected, by an independent judging panel, from each of the three age groups (five to eight, nine to 11 and 12 to 14) to win amazing prizes.

Winners from the youngest age category will also be turned into cartoon characters for a starring role in an Emily the Engineer activity book, whilst winners from the older age categories will be presented with a one-of-a-kind VIP Golden Ticket experience day at Network Rail.

To enter, visit: