Saturday 23rd June marks International Women in Engineering Day, which aims to celebrate women in engineering and encourage more girls and young women to consider engineering as a career.
As a proposals engineer with Alpheus Environmental, a water and wastewater company, part of the Anglian Water Group, I find it encouraging to see such events taking place to tackle the stigma surrounding women and engineering. It was also heartening to see a debate in the Scottish Parliament on International Women in Engineering Day earlier this week.
This year's theme of #RaisingTheBar sought to tackle prejudices, as engineering is often still thought of as a job for a man. Not enough female role models and gender stereotyping are well-documented reasons as to why girls don't choose engineering. Misconceptions linger about the job itself, which isn't always about getting your hands dirty.
There has been a well-recognised skills gap in engineering for some time now, and the UK, which once led the world in engineering, is now facing a considerable skills shortage. In part, this is due to the fact that young women do not enter engineering roles at anything like the same rate as young men. Indeed, research undertaken in 2017 pointed to that fact that only 11 per cent of the engineering workforce is female.