Now in its seventh year, International Women in Engineering Day 2020 (INWED20) aims to raise the profile of women in engineering across the globe.
Held annually on 23 June, INWED celebrates the impact of female engineers and focusses on career opportunities available to women in the profession.
This year, Leeds College of Building is joining the call for more women to enrol on engineering courses as the UK continues to fall behind Europe when it comes to female engineers.
There are 165,000 engineering students in the UK, but only 26,000 (16%) of them are female. Data from 2018 also revealed only 12% of the UK’s entire engineering workforce was female – the lowest percentage in Europe when compared to other nations such as Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus that lead with almost 30%.
Brian Duffy, Faculty Director at Leeds College of Building, said:
“This year, we’re supporting the INWED20 campaign to encourage more women into the field of engineering. It’s more vital than ever that we represent our society in the workforce of tomorrow. That means getting more young women into engineering through education and training.
“At College, female higher education student numbers from 2014 to 2019 saw an increase of over 130%, reinforcing our proactive role in promoting women in construction and engineering disciplines. Numerous regional and national built environment awards have been won by female students and success and achievement is consistently higher with female students.
“Partnership work with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) has also allowed progression of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassadors. Many women are choosing courses like our new Digital Engineering Technician Apprenticeship, optimising built environment performance using digital models and electronic visualisations. This is a fascinating area in which women can excel, but we still need more female students to help influence the construction industry of the future.”
One positive role model includes Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Student Member, Ruth Watson:
“Engineers help shape the future. Therefore, it’s critical that we inspire and encourage the younger generation to consider engineering. I love volunteering and speaking to students about my experience in the industry, breaking stereotypes and showing them women can.”
Fellow Civil Engineering student, Jessica Clark, said:
“The future of engineering excites me as designs become more sustainable and new ideas for sustainability are being produced continuously.”
Established by the Women’s Engineering Society, INWED aims to raise the profile of women in engineering roles. The 2020 campaign, which has the theme of ‘Shape the World,’ will highlight the role of engineering in environmental issues by announcing a Top 50 Women in Sustainability list.
Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society, said:
“INWED20 is an amazing campaign that recognises the careers available to women in engineering. The 2020 theme ties in with the challenges facing us in an uncertain future and invites engineers to share how they are tackling such topics as the climate emergency.”