26/05/2020

Women in Engineering

‘Pink and ‘blue’ jobs are being discussed more frequently in society in a bid to close gender gaps in a variety of industries. Engineering is a sector that is pulling away from a male-dominated environment and is crying out for female engineers.

According to Engineering UK 2018, only 12.37% of all engineers in the UK are women. There is a clear gap in the industry, but can we resolve this? Between the ages 11-14, 46.4% of girls would consider a career in engineering, but when they reach 18, that number drops to 25.4%.

Britain is already in desperate need for engineers, in fact, another 1.8 million new engineers are needed by 2025, meaning that more than ever, women must be encouraged to strive for a career in this sector.

80% of female engineers are either happy or extremely happy with their career choice with 98% finding it rewarding, according to a survey by the Royal Academy of Engineering. So, how do we encourage women to pursue engineering?

Kerrine Bryan, an award-winning chartered electrical engineer, suggests: “We’re losing potential female engineers at every stage of life. It starts from a young age because bias and misconceptions in media and toys often implant ideas into children’s minds that engineering is for men, and involves getting your hands dirty, and fixing things, which doesn’t appeal to girls if they’re brought up to believe they should be quiet, neat and tidy.”

Lucy Gill, a qualified engineer, STEM ambassador and founder of Digills agrees with Bryan, says: “There’s so much embedded in our culture saying engineering isn’t for girls. People still think of engineers as the men who fix your washing machine, not the people at the forefront of designing creative solutions to the world’s problems.”

It is a travesty that women are being discouraged at such an early age, but the problem becomes worse when you realise that women perform better in engineering degrees than men.

The gender gap is one thing, but it also means the industry has a large skill gap. 79.8% of female engineering students get a First or Upper Second at degree level in comparison to just 74.6% of men.

Fortunately, many advocates seek to close this gap and are helping propel the movement forward to get more women into engineering. If you’re considering a career in Engineering, you can find more information about the University of Bolton’s courses here.

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