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International Women in Engineering Day: Staff Perspective

International Women in Engineering Day: Staff Perspective

Saturday 23 June saw International Women in Engineering Day 2018 and, to mark the occasion, some of our talented female staff are sharing their thoughts and advice based on their experience within the industry.

Currently, within the engineering industry, only 11% of staff are women. International Women in Engineering Day was launched in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, with the intention of raising awareness of the gender imbalance within the industry and to encourage change.

At BE Design, we are passionate about encouraging and inspiring more females to consider a career within the construction, engineering and property industry, and about addressing the gender imbalance.

Karolina Walton, architectural building technician

I have been at BE Design for three years now, but I have been working in the industry for around 12 years. BE Design is definitely the most diverse place I have worked in during my career and to be working alongside more women than ever before is incredibly inspiring and I hope will show young women what a fantastic career engineering and construction is.

Engineering is an industry full of a hugely diverse range of talented individuals. It isn’t just men in suits and this needs to be better reflected in advertising. The industry is incredibly broad and full of very different people – as it should be – but more education is needed to show that women are here and we’re playing a really vital role.

By sharing our thoughts, experiences and advice we can address the gender equality and show the industry as a diverse, real and viable option for young girls.

In all honesty, I don’t see any reason why there should be less women in engineering than men when we can do the job just as well as anyone else.

Patience Bazawra, principal engineer 

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about engineering and what engineers actually do day to day. This is definitely an industry that is not only dominated by men, but seen as a ‘masculine’ career.

I have worked in the industry for 16 years and BE Design is the first company I have worked for where I’m working in the same room as other women – let along having other women in the same company. I am very proud to work for a practice which is doing its part to help improve the 11% statistic.

One of the most crucial elements to being successful as a woman in this industry is support. I know a lot of people for whom the pressure was too much as they didn’t have a confident support system in place. Having access to mentoring schemes and having staff members to approach for advice and support has really made a difference for me and how I have progressed throughout my career.

If I had one piece of advice for people looking to get into the industry, it would be to do your research. Your career is not just about having a job, but having a job that you enjoy and suits you, so it is crucial to get experience where you can prepare for exactly what your career will bring – whoever you are.

Alicia Mistry, placement student, University of Sheffield

I am very early on in my career, and I haven’t noticed that I’ve been treated any differently because I’m a woman. At university, there are a lot more male students than female, especially on the engineering course, but that hasn’t put me off at all.

I think a lot of change will come from education, and universities are starting to get better at challenging the stereotypes surrounding engineering – for example, physics is no longer one of the required entry grades to study engineering, contrary to what many people think.

If you are thinking about applying to study engineering, just do it. It’s such a rich and broad industry and there are so many things you can do. There is definitely something for everyone, so don’t allow yourself to write off a great industry and stable career because of stereotypes. I refused to let stories put me off applying to study at university, and I’m looking forward to a long career.

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