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University hosted exhibition takes aim at workplace stereotypes

Women Engineers – portraits of the changing face of engineering

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What does an engineer look like? You might imagine a man in a hard hat, or perhaps a man in a lab coat - but whatever the attire, the truth is that most of us would imagine a man. It is precisely this default that a new photographic exhibition aims to challenge.


Photographs by Geraldine Curtis as part of Women Engineers - portraits of the changing face of engineering exhibition, in association with CrossCountry Trains & The Women’s Engineering Society (WES), hosted by Derby University.

Derbyshire photographer Geraldine Curtis explains:

“It all started with a chance conversation I had with a group of female engineers. They explained that in the UK, less than 13% of all engineers are female. This led me to question why so few women take it up as a career.”

“It struck me that there are too few visible role models for women in engineering. Women in the field have such a low profile. There is a real risk that girls simply don’t believe that it is a career in which they would be welcome, or that they could thrive. I felt that really ought to be addressed”.

Elizabeth Donnelly, CEO Women’s Engineering Society, said:

“We were delighted when Geraldine got in touch looking for female engineering heroes. We recognise that there is a lot still to do with regards to building a bigger profile and better recognition for women in the industry. The members who came forward work right across a variety of disciplines - from aerospace to biotech. Which just shows you the breadth of opportunity there is for any woman considering a career in engineering”.

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry Managing Director said:

“CrossCountry is excited to be supporting Geraldine with this project. Britain’s rail industry works hard to increase diversity in its workforce and we hope this exhibition, which showcases the growing number of female engineers, will encourage and inspire others to pursue a career in rail.”

The exhibition comprises twenty portraits of female engineers and is to be hosted at the University of Derby. There will be information leaflets on engineering as a career available.

All of the engineers are STEM Ambassadors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and regularly volunteer to visit schools and colleges to talk about exciting opportunities in engineering.

The exhibition runs from 3rd February till 23rd March at Markeaton Street Campus, sponsored by CrossCountry Trains.



Further information, comment and images contact Geraldine Curtis, 07803584266

About Geraldine Curtis

Geraldine Curtis is an award-winning Derbyshire based photographer. A regular contributor to local newsprint publications, she takes every opportunity to search out the stories which need telling.

Twitter: @GeraldineCurtis  Instagram: @geraldine.curtis

About The Women’s Engineering Society

Founded in 1919, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), is a professional, not-for-profit network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development. Although the world has changed since a group of women decided to band together to create an organisation to support women in engineering after the First World War, the need is still there. WES envisions a nation in which women are as likely as men to study and work in engineering, and one in which there are enough engineers to meet a growing demand. WES works in a number of ways to support women in STEM, to encourage the study and application of engineering, to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to award excellence and encourage achievement. 

Website: Twitter: @wes1919

About Cross Country

CrossCountry’s network is the most geographically extensive passenger rail franchise in Britain. Stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, it calls at over 100 stations. Based in Birmingham, CrossCountry connects seven of the Britain’s 10 largest cities and delivers 298 services every weekday, equating to some 40 million passenger journeys a year.

For further information on CrossCountry services visit or follow them online via Twitter at @crosscountryuk or

CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs more than 60,000 people and delivers over 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year

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