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Let’s smash the stereotype and shine a light on outstanding women engineers up and down the country

Let’s smash the stereotype and shine a light on outstanding women engineers up and down the country

Just 12% of those working in engineering are women, highlighting that there is plenty more to be done to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, says Jo Foster | Credit: Adobe

Jo Foster, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager | Institution of Engineering and Technology

3 min read Partner content

It’s vital we champion engineering – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to do something life – or even – world changing.

Even though one in five people work in the engineering profession, the UK faces a nationwide skills shortage. 

203,000 people with engineering skills will be required each year to meet demand through to 2024, but it’s estimated that there will be an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers and technicians to fill these roles.  

What’s even more surprising, is that just 12% of those working in engineering are women, highlighting that there is plenty more to be done to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

It is important to see the benefits that come from a diverse workforce including a wider talent pool, improved creativity and providing more role models to inspire the next generation. 

The IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards have been celebrating women working in modern engineering for more than 40 years and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men, by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes.  

Previous IET research has shown that the stereotype of an engineer is alive and well amongst school children where they deemed a typical engineer to be a middle aged man, wears glasses, a high vis jacket and a hard hat. 

According to this research, only 9% of children imagine the typical engineer to be a woman.  

Generally, people aren’t aware of the incredible breadth of engineering in the 21st century.  Today engineering covers everything from designing our future cities and transport to coming up with new healthcare technology.

Engineering and technology are improving our world and shaping our future, touching every part of our lives. Engineers bring ideas to life, turn dreams into reality and make solutions to big challenges possible. 

There are thousands of women engineers doing amazing things – from advancements in healthcare technology to space exploration

We want to make it clear that engineering is a fantastic career for women. Outdated views and stereotypes are damaging to the industry, especially when there is a significant shortage of engineers, which poses a serious threat to the economy.

It’s vital we champion engineering – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to do something life – or even – world changing. 

There are thousands of women engineers doing amazing things – from advancements in healthcare technology to space exploration.

The Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards showcase some of the best female engineering talent in this country, hopefully encouraging the next generation to get excited about the possibilities of an engineering career.” 

Recognising and showcasing outstanding women engineers has never been so important. 

As well as highlighting talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more women.  

Click here to listen to Increasing the 12%: why we need more women in engineering, with Amanda Solloway MP, Baroness Berridge, Ella Podmore and Jo Foster

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