The ever-changing face of ‘women in industry’

by Anita Caldwell

It is good to see the ever-changing face of ‘women in industry’ and the continuous and numerous little steps forward that are giving more and more confidence and respect to women generally in their careers nowadays, and within engineering and industrial environments in particular, (that historically have been seen as male-dominated arenas, except in war times!)

These steps are not always so totally transparent to show women have equal rights and the ability to be engineers, as the overtly new face of Dr Who and her mechanical prowess is demonstrating. But we also see an ever-changing emphasis in the media, films and TV where women are constantly now being shown in dominant or leadership roles. And also in local media, in events such as seen today in the press article in the Runcorn and Widnes World about a local college doing a great job in promoting engineering to women.

The article rightly emphasises the importance the college sees to introduce their students to influential role models and the natural growth rate of their female engineering student population is now at an applaudable percentage of 50:50 male and female engineering students. The article mentions their guests are from ‘all levels of the construction industry’, emphasising to the students there is no longer a glass ceiling for women……if you choose there not to be!

I am not saying it does not still take a fight to succeed, as it will in any career, (and probably still more so for women is my belief, unfortunately) but it is also absolutely possible to succeed if girls have the inclination, the drive, aptitude, determination and are willing to put in the hard work…as also applicable for career minded boys too! It’s just about having equal chances, having the respect given to you and confidence to go for it too.

I don’t believe there are barriers to girls succeeding in engineering today, I guess they are actually welcomed open-armed by most good enlightened businesses nowadays, due to the shortage of ‘in-house’ UK engineering skills and I have had the pleasure of meeting many successful and ambitious women trainee engineers and ones awarded as ‘outstanding’ at industry networking and award ceremonies (not so many yet seen in 'experienced' engineering shortlists..but times, thankfully, are changing).

I think there is a different shift of emphasis ‘on a glass ceiling and women in engineering’ over the last 6-7 years, and since my blog "Engineering Degrees are the most valuable in the UK" about women in engineering there is still work to be done to keep attracting girls, and boys into engineering! Showing the exciting technological avenues engineering can lead you into, and also provide you with a sustainable, stable, challenging and well-paid career route.




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