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Positive Steps for Women in Engineering - Women Engineers in Northern Ireland part 2

21.06.18 · Engineering News

We interview Rachel MacNeill from Queen's Formula Racing for International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) #INWED18 #RaisingTheBar #VSQFR #OneMoveAhead

INWED has now been recognised as an annual event, it has been growing in strength since it was set up in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).  Due to the huge interest and passion of participants at both a local and international level, what started out as a national event, has transformed to receive global recognition.

Vickerstock's Eimhear McGurk interviews Rachel MacNeill from Queen's Formula Racing.


Traditionally, engineering is recognised as a male dominated industry however this worldwide event attempts to break the stereotype and encourage more females to become involved in the engineering sector.

The aim of INWED is to raise awareness of the incredible work done by women in the engineering industry. It highlights the amazing opportunities available to girls and women and celebrates all the wonderful achievements of women in engineering throughout the world.

Survey’s conducted by WES show that in 2017 only 11% of the engineering workforce was female, although still a staggering low percentage it is an improvement from the 9% recorded in 2015. Improvements must be made to encourage further positive change and end the gender disparity which has become a tradition in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Since 2012 the proportion of young women studying engineering and physics has remained virtually stagnant.

Recognising females in the engineering industry is not only an acknowledgement of their great work but also helps to inspire a new generation to pursue a similar career path. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards recognises the brilliant work done by female engineers in the UK during the early stages of their career.

Nadia Johnson, a software engineer apprentice at Thales and a finalist at the 2016 IET’s said, “To achieve equality it's all about inclusion. Encouraging men as champions helps to break down the walls between genders. If we include and encourage them, they will include and encourage us. There is no need for divide; we need to create a community of inclusion.”

With the growth of the ‘Me Too’ movement, the evolution of female empowerment platforms has reached an all-time high. This is the perfect era to campaign for more female’s in the engineering workforce, to promote engineering as a career option available to everyone.

There are many campaigns currently underway which recognise the need for more females in the engineering industry. The ‘WISE’ campaign encourages businesses and education establishments to increase female participation in STEM. The ‘People Like Me’ campaign targets younger females and encourages them to consider STEM subjects at a Post-16 level.

The theme for INWED 2018 is ‘Raising the Bar’, the idea is to promote and generate even more interest in engineering as a career choice for females and to highlight the amazing opportunities available as a result.

Women play a vital role in engineering in Northern Ireland, it is important they receive the recognition they deserve to help inspire a new generation of young females to follow their footsteps.

By Eimhear McGurk | Journalist at Vickerstock


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