CEO, Women’s Engineering Society
According to research from Engineering UK in 2022, women make up only 16.5% of engineers. Women still struggle to break into what is perceived as a male-dominated industry.
During World War I, women engineers were welcomed into the profession and then pressured to leave the workforce at the end of the war to release jobs for men. These same women, from a small committee drawn from the National Council of Women, founded the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) on 23 June 1919. They work to resist pressure and promote engineering as a rewarding job for women.
How celebration for women in engineering went global
By 2013, WES had firmly established its reputation as an innovative organisation whose members work tirelessly to empower women in the engineering sector. As a way of celebrating 95 years of supporting women engineers, National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) was launched on 23 June 2014. The event was successful and continued for three years before it went international.
The year 2018 marked the first official International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) with 245 separate events from different countries such as Bolivia, Cameroon, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Keeping people safe is a key part
of engineering often unnoticed.
Each year, we choose a separate INWED theme to highlight the variety found across engineering and the crucial role played by women. For 2023, our theme is #MakingSafetySeen. Keeping people safe is a key part of engineering often unnoticed.
Highlighting women engineers who work in safety shows how careers in engineering give women purpose and support others. These events allow us to show the world the amazing women in engineering.
Tackling barriers to change statistics for women
Despite the success of supporting women in engineering and encouraging more women to join the sector, statistics still show us that there is a long way to go. The barriers to women entering and staying in engineering are hard to break down.
A lack of flexible working, incorrectly fitting PPE and unequal pay are all issues that women engineers face today and need to be addressed. Our vision is an engineering industry that employs the diversity of the society it serves to solve the biggest societal issues of our time. Until this happens, we will continue working to support and promote women in engineering.