Although the year is 2018, it could be argued that when one thinks of an engineer, the mind automatically pictures a man. Women are often under-represented in the fields of engineering, and with the industry playing such an important role in the UK it is important to celebrate the roles that women are involved in.
This year, it was recorded by EngineeringUK.com that only 12% of the engineering workforce is female. Considering this, we must note that it is a positive change from the small 9% in 2015.
Women have been a part of the engineering movement since the beginning. Ada Lovelace born in 1815 is recognised to be the first computer programmer, which became a huge milestone in the history of computers and technology. Mary Anderson, the inventor of the windshield wiper blade, a core element of every car. Martha Coston, a 21 year old widow who invented a signal system which ships used in the Civil War to light up their locations. And our very own TV personality Carol Vorderman who has an engineering degree from Cambridge University.
With this is mind, it is up to us to inspire and encourage women to consider engineering as an achievable and rewarding career and break down the stereotype.
There are now campaigns to encourage women into the engineering industry such as the International Women in Engineering Day, which takes place every year on June 23rd. As well as this, there are awards to recognise women in engineering such as ‘The IET Young Women Engineer of the Year awards’ and ‘the WISE conference & awards’.
In Northamptonshire, Northampton University offers a wide range of engineering courses with options to study part-time or full-time. Additionally, Corby & Wellingborough Tresham campuses have specialist resources which help to deliver courses at all levels allowing progression.
The engineering industry is an exciting one, and although yet many women have contributed to it, why is it that it is still a predominantly male run industry? There is clearly a real need to encourage more women into engineering, but also recognise the ones that already are!