International Women in Engineering Day – highlights

This week we’ve featured a number of different perspectives on the subject of women in engineering ahead of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED). Today we’re rounding up our engineers’ comments and providing our final thoughts on the topic.

Charu Gupta – what does an engineer look like?

‘I think the reason more women aren’t going into engineering is because they don’t know about it. We need to encourage the younger generation, inspire them to get involved and show them that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to engineers – it’s a very varied industry and women really do have a chance now to make a difference.

‘One of INWED’s themes this year is ‘#RaisingTheBar’. To me, this means raising the bar in young people’s minds – thinking further ahead in time and realising what’s possible if you put your mind to it.
‘I know from experience that, if you fall in love with what you do, you can get wherever you want to be.’

Jane Goodman – we’ve still got a way to go…

‘We really have come incredibly far since I first started out in the industry but there’s certainly still more we can do. INWED celebrates women in engineering but also looks to the future and how we can improve representation and this is an area we do need to focus on if we’re going to improve and move forward in engineering.

‘Different people bring different views and ideas to the table – some people look at things more laterally and others in more depth and you really need a combination of both of these people to make projects run smoothly.

‘It’s not just men and women that make successful teams – it’s people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different work experiences and with different viewpoints. We need diversity in order to thrive in a modern, changing world where politics and global finances continue to influence our industry.’

Jo Jones – ‘catch them young and give them the confidence to flourish’

‘This week, I attended a roundtable event in Leicester which brought together 20 of the region’s top female business leaders, discussing how we can close the gender gap in engineering and construction.
‘One of the barriers to entry for women we discussed was: a lack of confidence. We’re our own worst critics. There are lots of girls who are really good at maths – they have the skills they need to become an engineer – but they don’t have the belief in themselves.

‘When I was promoted to associate director, I remember saying to my managing director: “I don’t think I’m ready”, but he encouraged me to go for it.
‘Men really are our allies and they’ve been fantastic with me and allowed me to grow, develop and shine.’

David Featherstone – why men and women need to work together to address gender imbalance

‘Here at BSD, we are doing all we can to eliminate the stigma attached to construction and engineering being a ‘man’s job’. Promotions at BSD aren’t gender specific – people shouldn’t be judged on their gender, but rather their abilities and dedication to the job.

‘Engineering is a great career path – it’s not all about being on a building site in a hard hat. Not only do engineers get to be creative through design, they also get to be analytical, with problem solving, maths and practical application being part of the daily job.

‘While architects design how a building is going to look, engineers make the “inside” facilities – from lighting and heating to fire and security systems – work, fit and function. In essence, building services engineers design the services that are needed to allow a structure to do what it has been designed to do. They work collaboratively with design teams to influence the shape of a building and to make it as sustainable as possible.

‘The skills needed – such as having an analytical mind, being a good communicator and having strong capabilities in IT – are not gender specific.

‘Because of this, I believe it’s women who will fill the construction and engineering skills gap eventually – as long as we start showing them the career paths that are available and re-educating people’s perceptions.’

We hope you’ve found this week as inspiring as we have – it’s clear that the engineering industry is making steps to improve representation and we fully support this effort. A diverse workforce is a more creative workforce which will ultimately benefit clients, stakeholders and communities.

Let us know how you’re celebrating INWED and join the conversation on Twitter @BSD_Consulting.