EngineeringUK celebrates INWED

Jun 23, 2021

EngineeringUK celebrates International Women in Engineering Day #INWED21 and the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing #WomenInEngineering

New analysis from EngineeringUK has shown 14.5% of those working in engineering are female, which is an increase from 12% as reported in 2018.

The latest data taken from the Labour Force Survey Q2 2020 shows that the proportion of women working in engineering has increased over time both proportionally and in absolute numbers, outpacing the rate seen in the wider workforce. However, despite the gender gap closing there is still a lot of work to be done and the proportion of women engineers in the workforce remains woefully low.

Today is also the first day of Big Bang Digital. A 3-day event aimed at 11- to 14-year-olds. This event is packed full of inspiring and interactive sessions, opening young people's eyes to engineering, with tens of thousands expected to join.

Big Bang Digital is just one of a number of EngineeringUK’s programmes that work in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and increase the number and diversity of young people. We continually engage with the engineering community and discuss the importance of diversity (including gender) and how to improve it. We believe engineering can offer a rewarding career regardless of gender, background or ethnicity and that the positive showcasing of inspiring women in engineering helps promote the industry and helps young people see it as a possible career choice.

Women are still significantly underrepresented in engineering and technology in higher education. UCAS data on university application and acceptance figures for the 2020 cycle highlighted those women represent just 16% and 18% of accepted applications to computing and engineer degrees respectively. At the current rate of progress, parity of women in engineering degrees will not be achieved until 2085.

The gender gap in the engineering sector has always been there and new research from EngineeringUK Securing the future: STEM careers provision in schools and colleges in England suggests that for young people in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is deepening gender differences in career aspirations in engineering or technology and even more so for girls.

As part of the survey, just over 1,100 young people aged 11 to 19 were asked about their attitudes and the degree to which their educational and career aspirations have been affected by the pandemic. When asked whether they would be likely to consider engineering as a career, 44% of boys/young men answered yes as opposed to just 24% of girls/young women.

As part of Big Bang Digital there will be an interactive session that will highlight women in engineering, the session will provide opportunities to ask questions and inspire girls to understand the opportunities available to them.

MEET THE FUTURE YOU: Women in Engineering Day takes place today at 11:15 AM. Inspirational women in engineering also feature in many of the on-demand sessions today, including:

Climate crisis? It’s time to make a difference! Today at 12pm Meet Emma Podmore the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2020.

Royal Air Force Today at 12pm Meet Lizzy Parsons the Station Environmental Protection Officer at Brize Norton and Laura Ridley-Siddal, Squadron Leader at the Air and Space Squadron School.

STEM careers in the Army and survival skills - British Army Today at 2pm Meet Captain Katie Hawkins, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer. She is a Civil Engineer and the STEM Presentation Officer.

Earn and Learn: from classroom to qualified – BAE Systems Today at 2pm Meet Rachel Belshaw Advanced Engineering Craft Apprentice and Tigs Knowles a Software Engineer who works in Artificial Intelligence.

After BigBang Digital, all sessions will be made available on demand next week.

Today, we are also announcing, The Big Bang Competition winners, where we inspire inquisitive minds to think big, challenge facts, ask questions and invent solutions with the UK’s top science and engineering competition.  

The Competition showcases an amazing range of scientists from a diverse range of backgrounds, here are just a few examples of previous inspiring female winners and how they have gone on to pursue a career in engineering. 

Jessica Leigh Jones MBE, a multi-award-winning engineer, social entrepreneur and professional speaker. The former Young Engineer of the Year kickstarted her engineering career with the development of a series of patented novel fibre optic sensing technologies for pregnancy monitoring. In a typically unorthodox manner, she trained as an installation electrician before receiving a BSc in Astrophysics from Cardiff University. 

Jessica co-founded iungo solutions to respond to the future skills requirements of emerging and evolving industries in Wales. "iungo" meaning "to connect" and aims to link policy makers, employers and training providers. Apprenticeships are positioned at the heart of iungo's strategy to create a resilient, highly skilled and prosperous workforce to future-proof the Welsh economy. Jessica received an MBE for services to women in engineering in Wales in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours. 

Ruth Amos, winner of Young Engineer for Britain in 2006. Ruth co-founded Kids Invent Stuff, an educational project aimed at engaging more young people into STEM. Kids Invent Stuff build and test working prototypes of inventions designed by 4 to 11-year-olds on YouTube. The project’s mission is to engage and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The channel has projects featured on BBC's The One Show, Radio 5 Live, The Daily Show, Tomorrow’s World Live, BBC News Online and major US TV news outlets. 

Bethan Padbury, Senior Engineering winner in 2018 studying physics at Loughborough University and is looking to enter a career to apply her academic skills and knowledge.

At EngineeringUK we are always keen to learn about real-life experiences of females working and studying in engineering, whether you are considering a career, a student or working we would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation below.

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