Engineering leaders seek new ways to boost the number of women in the sector

Published:  27 June, 2017

On 23 June 2017, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), founded by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), celebrated the achievements of women in engineering.

Women make up less than 10% of the engineering sector in the UK. With a large skills gap looming and the additional need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering.

Set up in 2014 by WES to celebrate its 95th birthday, this national, and now international, awareness day focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities in engineering and technical roles, including for girls and young women, and celebrates the achievements of women engineers and technologists.

Working in partnership with many of the engineering world’s globally recognised names, WES itself celebrated the day with events in London. UK-based engineering and innovation company Colas Ltd, one of the sponsors of INWED in 2017, worked with WES to hold a Breakfast Roundtable at the House of Commons, hosted by Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh. Participants included Allan Cook (chair, Atkins), Benita Mehra (WES president) and Caroline Gumble (chief operating officer, EEF).

This invitation-only panel  explored key ways forward in an international context and highlighted issues relating to women in engineering. It explored one of INWED’s key themes in 2017, ‘men as allies’, for, as Caroline Gumble explained: “Without male decision makers as allies, women will continue to be unrepresented in the engineering sector at all levels.”

Lee Rushbrooke, CEO, Colas Ltd, commented: “Colas is a proud sponsor of International Women in Engineering Day 2017, promoting, rewarding careers and opportunities in engineering for women. Colas is committed to supporting greater diversity within the sector and actively encourages women in engineering.”

Benita Mehra, pf WES, remarked: “WES exists to provide a voice to women in engineering. We need to find more and better ways to increase the number of women taking a full part in engineering and allied sectors with actions from employers, educators and policymakers. I am very much looking forward to sharing this INWED Roundtable with such eminent and influential colleagues.”

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