International Women in Engineering Day – we’ve still got a way to go…

Today we hear from another one of our talented engineers in the energy and sustainability department – Jane Goodman, who has 20 years’ experience in the property industry.

I started in the architectural field in 1998 but moved into engineering in 2014 so I could gain a more holistic understanding of sustainability and information on systems design. I had always been interested in engineering and never thought my position as a woman put me at any sort of disadvantage.

I was obviously starting out in a role that I already knew quite a bit about – having worked in the built environment for 16 years – so went in with my eyes open, whereas I can understand why some women may be intimidated by engineering as a career choice.

It’s still considered a very sexist industry and, in some areas, I would say there’s still certainly some way to go in terms of achieving representation and eradicating the outdated views. Equal gender representation is the only way to remove any lingering sexism in the industry so the work done through International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is really important.

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.

Things are improving – and have improved since 1998 – and once momentum picks up a snowball effect is likely once we get to the tipping point. I think the next generation has a real opportunity to make a big difference.

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.

INWED plays an important role in empowering and educating more women to get involved in engineering and I’m really pleased to see gender representation become an important agenda for large corporations (see Shell’s #makethefuture campaign) and the government (see Sadiq Khan’s new inequality campaign).