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The future of women in engineering

Submitted by Technojobs Team on Wed, 21/06/2023 - 16:03
The future of women in engineering

On the 23rd of June is International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), an annual event that raises awareness about the achievements of women in engineering and promotes gender diversity in the field. INWED aims to inspire and encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering, as well as celebrate the accomplishments of female engineers worldwide.

Engineering has long been a male-dominated field, but times are changing. Women around the world are breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, and making significant contributions to the engineering industry. As we look ahead, it is essential to explore the future of women in engineering and the impact they are poised to have on innovation, diversity, and societal progress.

Progressing towards gender equality in engineering

According to Engineering UK the number of women engineers is on the rise, in 2010 women made up 10.5% of engineers, 12 years on in 2022 women make up 16.5% of engineers.

The engineering landscape is gradually shifting towards gender equality, however there is still along way to go. So, how can we work towards increasing that number?

Nurturing the next generation of female engineers

Inspiring and empowering young girls to pursue engineering is vital for the future, and there are a number of ways in which to do it. From initiatives aimed at engaging girls in STEM education from an early age to the role of people around them such as parents and educators to help encourage them to explore engineering as a career pathway.

One company leading the way is The Women’s Engineer Society (WES), a charity and company founded in 1919 that supports women in engineering. They run several campaigns and events, to help raise awareness and inspire the next generation into the world of engineering.

One of their campaigns is called ‘Lottie Tour’, a campaign designed to capture the interest of a younger engineering audience, this campaign sees current engineers go on tour with ‘Lottie Dolls’ to showcase how varied and exciting it is to work in engineering.

WES also run projects and programmes where they collaborate with partners across science, technology, and engineering. One of their initiatives is ‘STEM Returners’, a programme, that helps employers recruit, develop and retain the best available talent, enabling highly qualified and experienced STEM professionals to re-start their career or transfer their skills.

Fostering inclusive workplaces

Creating an inclusive workplace is important in attracting and retaining women in engineering, and there are various strategies that organisations can adopt to foster a supportive and inclusive environment, including flexible work arrangements, mentorship programmes, diversity training, and equal opportunities for career advancement.

One company helping others to do just this is Wise. In 1984 the Engineering Council collaborated with the Equal Opportunities Commission to launch the Women into Science and Engineering (WISE). Their mission is to support partners to achieve gender equality and benefit from better productivity, innovation, and business performance.

One company using Wise is AWE. AWE has supported the UK Government’s nuclear defence strategy and the Continuous at Sea Deterrent. They follow Wise’s 10 step plan which is a framework that helps organisations ensure they recruit from a diverse pool, then maximise the potential of their women STEM employees at all levels of their career.

Find all AWE jobs here

Leadership and mentorship

The Women’s Engineer Society (WES) run a programme called ‘MentorSET’, a mentoring scheme, that allows you to connect with a mentor who has the experience and skills to enable you to reach your milestones. The programme benefits mentees as it allows you to focus on your career and overcome work related challenges. For mentors it’s an opportunity to inspire, encourage and support others in STEM, it will also help improve your own leadership skills.

Advocating for equality

To secure a brighter future for women in engineering it is important the company leaders are advocates and spreading awareness. One company helping others do that is Get It Made. Get It Made, are offering a £5,000 grant to female leaders of an enterprise within the UK. The grant aims to support female-led engineering organisations, both financially and in offering their expertise, as grant winners will work closely with Get It Made’s knowledgeable engineers to accelerate the design and development of their ideas.

Companies advocating for women in engineering

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)

JLR have a Women in Engineering and Allies Network, led by a committee of volunteers. The network has two annual conferences and D&I themed networking lunches every month.

They also have a campaign called FurtHERing Futures, which is a career immersion programme that has been designed for talented female STEM GCSE and A-Level students who are interested in Jaguar Land Rover's advanced, higher or degree apprenticeships but would like to learn more before they apply.

Find JLR jobs here.

Mercedes AMG

One of Mercedes’ main focuses is to fill more senior management positions with qualified women, this way they can create role models that can help to inspire the next generation of female engineers.

They run numerous career information days which gives young women and girls insights into technical apprenticeships. Their initiatives focus on getting school children excited about technical professions and aims to foster the next generation of engineers.

Mercedes also attends university fairs to attract women to a career with them, they discuss entry-level positions at Mercedes-Benz that are aimed specifically at young female talents in technical areas.

Find Mercedes AMG job here

The future of women in engineering is promising, as more barriers are broken, and opportunities for inclusion and growth are created. By nurturing talent, fostering inclusive workplaces, and driving technological innovation, women engineers will shape the future of engineering and contribute to a more diverse and innovative world. Let us embrace the potential of women in engineering and work towards a future where their contributions are fully recognised and celebrated.

If you are an employer interested in attracting women in technology, head to our partner website womenintech.co.uk where you can find out more about partnership and advertising opportunities to help you become a mor