Home Agenda Agenda: More efforts are still needed to encourage women to become engineers

Agenda: More efforts are still needed to encourage women to become engineers


ENGINEERING UK reported earlier this year that just over 16% of all engineering positions across the country are held by women. Although this is an increase of around six percentage points from the 2010 figures, it still shows that women are still significantly underrepresented in the industry.

Today marks International Women in Engineering Day, an annual celebration of women’s work in the industry and a perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on the issue.

Like many issues in society, encouraging more women and girls to choose a career in engineering is no easy task – cultural stereotypes are still prevalent and unhelpful.

Things are changing however and while I think it’s a shame we still need an event like IWED, these play an important role in promoting the industry and demonstrating the impact engineers have on our lives.

Engineering as a whole is a big church and I, as a civil and structural engineer, am only a small part of it. But if you think of everything from clean water, new schools, homes and workplaces to power generation, it’s hard to think of anything that isn’t impacted by engineers. .

For many women and girls, whether they are nearing the end of their studies or considering a career change later in life, the prospect of starting out in engineering can be daunting. But help and support is available and there are a number of stem organizations (science, technology, engineering and math) that can put you in touch with other women in the field to get a better idea of ​​the options. available.

Industry groups like Women in Property are also important networks that can help women realize their potential. I have been a member of this particular group for a number of years and look forward to getting more involved in mentoring women in the industry.

We at Will Rudd have just named the newest female member of our technical team and are actively looking for other females to join us. Although the pandemic has undoubtedly changed the ways of working, we have always understood the importance of a healthy balance between work and home. As a result, we operate a hybrid model focusing on flexibility and have enhanced our maternity package.

If you take me as an example, I was lucky to have great opportunities and great mentors who helped me grow. I started out working on a construction site, but here I now run a design consulting business and lead a growing team while designing and certifying structures. For some however, the opportunities and support are not as readily available, so we all have a responsibility and a role to play in supporting women in the industry.

As we move forward, we must redouble our efforts and train the next generation of female engineers who will be instrumental in delivering some of society’s most important infrastructure solutions.

Gillian Ogilvie is Managing Director of Will Rudd, Edinburgh