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The UK’s Network Rail has announced that it will promote the contributions of women in engineering as new research has showcased that there is a lack of female representation in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors.

A Network Rail survey was conducted by Savanta ComRes with more than 2,000 people who are between the ages of 16 and 12 in the UK.

The survey showcased that around 64% of the entire participants and 77% of the women said that there are not enough female role models within STEM.

Around 26% of females added that they would want to have careers in STEM fields.

Approximately 80% of the participants could recognise Steven Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton and other male figures while only 18% knew about Ada Lovelace, who is said to be the first computer programmer.

Following the findings from the survey, Network Rail has introduced a new competition that is open to people between the ages of five and 14.

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This competition aims to boost the work done by female engineers and inspire the next generation with the inventions and feats achieved by women in engineering.

Network Rail diversity and inclusion director Loraine Martins said: “We know that more diverse gender-balanced teams are more engaged, more collaborative, more motivated and safer. The ambitions to develop our infrastructure and the skills shortage that our industry faces mean that encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in engineering is vital. Promoting positive female role models is a great way of providing inspiration for future generations to join us.

“From Mary Anderson, inventor of the windscreen wiper, to Marie Van Brittan Brown, who invented the home security system, there’s a host of women who has come up with inventions and engineering solutions which we simply couldn’t live without.

“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.”