Engineering Connections: Women and Work

Jul 12, 2018

On 11 July, EngineeringUK held a breakfast briefing on ‘Women and Work’ in partnership with the Design Council, the second event in our Engineering Connections series. The event provided an opportunity to discuss some of the underlying reasons for the gender imbalances within the engineering and design sectors and to share experiences and thoughts on how to address it. The event also saw the release of EngineeringUK’s first research briefing into gender disparity in engineering.

Dr. Scarlett Brown, Head of Research and Policy at Tomorrow’s Company, set the scene, providing a ‘state of the nation’ analysis of women in senior roles, including representation on FTSE100 boards. Kay Hughes, founder/director of Khaa, discussed her experience working with an all-women team of architects, designers and engineers to win the Cambridge-to-Oxford growth corridor contest, highlighting the benefits of women working collectively together. And Sarah Weir, OBE and CEO of Design Council, and Jacqui Ferguson, Trustee of EngineeringUK and former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Service UK, Ireland, Middle East Mediterranean and Africa, reflected on their experiences progressing in heavily-male dominated industries, noting that although much has changed for the better, there are still clear obstacles for women succeeding in work today. While each speaker provided a different perspective and spoke of a different context, the overriding message was clear: harnessing the considerable potential of women is vital if we are to address the skills shortage, and there is a need for real leadership to cultivate more supportive and inclusive workplace cultures and policies.

We’ve launched Engineering Connections as a forum where we’ll look at some of the key topics impacting business today, hear from those with key insights and provide an opportunity for debate, shared learning and networking. The next event will be on the theme of social mobility in September. Keep your eyes out for more information soon.

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