National Women in Engineering Day
National Women in Engineering Day aims to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of women in engineering. Here, some of our female engineers offer their experiences of working in a male-dominated industry.
Think of a job in engineering and what requirements are top of the list – An inquiring mind? Good qualifications? A willingness to get your hands dirty? What about – the need to be a man?
A controversial view but - incredible though it may be in this day and age - it’s still not an uncommon one. We’re not alone in the industry in employing significantly low numbers of women engineers.
- 75% believe engineering is still regarded as a male career
- 70% of female engineers said their sex made no difference when applying for a job
- A further 17% said being female actually helped
- 91% cited an inspirational teacher as a reason for choosing an engineering-related career
- 75% of female engineers were interested in problem solving and fixing things from an early age
Across the workforce, women make up just 15% and although genders are quite balanced in some areas, you can count the number of female engineers on one hand. "It’s very imbalanced,” says Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director Sarah Hopkins. “It’s a huge challenge for us and the industry to redress it. We are working hard to make roles attractive for women.”
“We don’t operate to a quota – it’s simply the best man or woman for the job, but when less than five women were among 150 applications for a recent role, getting that balance right is very difficult.
“Those women we do get really thrive,” she adds. “They realise the dull, rough image is very old-fashioned. There’re no boundaries to what women can achieve here and we have to do more to get that message across.”
Here some of our female engineers offer their experiences of working in a male-dominated industry.