Menu Search

We’re celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

  • Posted on 23rd June 2017
  • Category: People

International Women in Engineering day aims to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of women in engineering.

It has been recognised that a skills gap in engineering is looming, and one way of addressing this is to get more girls to consider engineering as a realistic career option for them. This will have the dual benefit of creating more diversity in the engineering sector (where fewer than 10% of the workforce is women), and creating a bigger talent pool of future engineers from which to recruit.

To mark the day, we asked some of our female employees to share their views and experiences being a woman in the engineering industry.

Flora AmbitFlora-Ambit-002-315x305
Engineer (Building Services) in Manchester

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
When I was at high school I enjoyed studying science and knew that I wanted to study science in further education, but wasn’t sure which degree to choose. I eventually decided to study Mechanical Engineering as there was a high demand for engineers in this industry and therefore lots of opportunities for development. I have now been working in the industry for 5 years.

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
I am glad there is a day to represent our work in the industry. Women are a minority within engineering and we have to improve awareness. Hopefully there continues to be more and more women choosing a career in engineering. Not all engineers are 50 year old men as I was once told!

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
To date I cannot complain about any serious gender related issue in my career.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
So far, I have not been able to promote women in engineering significantly. Nevertheless, when someone asks me about my career, I always offer encouragement to follow the same path.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
Forget about stereotypes, and don’t lack confidence in your abilities despite being in a male dominated environment.

Claire Sullivanclaire
CAD Technician in Birmingham

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
I finished college and knew I didn’t want to study full time at university so I looked for design based apprenticeships where I successfully landed a role with a large civil engineering consultancy in Birmingham. Here I completed my apprenticeship in Civil Engineering. I have been in the industry for three years and with Patrick Parsons for almost one year.

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
It means celebrating the achievements that women have made and continue to make in an industry where it has not always been easy to do so. I think it’s important to realise that there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in the industry but National Women in Engineering Day is a great way to recognise how far female engineers have come.

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
I have often found it intimidating presenting my work to older senior male engineers as I think sometimes they may not take a young, female engineer as seriously as a male. However, you must be confident in your abilities and not let this knock your confidence.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
I have been an ambassador for WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) workshop events at the Think Tank in Birmingham where I have been able to talk to many young female students about the benefits and rewards that working in the engineering industry provides. I love interacting with these types of people to give them an insight into what civil engineering is like and informing them that it doesn’t necessarily mean working on a building site all day like most think!

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
Be confident in yourself and be proud of your work and people will respect you for this. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be here!

Robin WellsIMG_5430-315x305
Undergraduate Civil Engineer in Birmingham

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
I knew what I wanted to be involved in, but not what career that would entail. I’d never heard of civil engineering until I was researching my options for university. I knew I wanted to do something practical with maths that can help people and the environment – civil engineering involves all three! I have been in the industry for 1 year and studying for 2 and have no desire to leave it

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
It means frustration, the industry is still lacking a female presence (for a number of reasons) and we still need a day to recognize that there are women in engineering. It means support, we still need to showcase female engineer role models to show women/girls that it is possible/okay to be an engineer. It means perseverance, we are still overcoming the stereotypes of engineering being a male industry. It is also a chance to show that female engineers are just as good as their male counterparts, that gender should not be a factor in whether or not someone is a good engineer.

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
I was producing drawings for a client and after a few drawings they asked to speak to me over the phone. Due to my name being spelt the boy’s way they sounded surprised when they heard a higher pitched voice answering as Robin. I never heard from them again.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
By representing on the career stands at university open days for Patrick Parsons, I believe by people seeing me there as a woman employed in the industry it is proof that women can work in the industry. I would like to be more involved in promoting engineering.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
Laugh at the people who make the chauvinistic/sexist comments – they are intimidated by how fabulous you are.

Yasodha SenthilnathanYasodha-Senthilnathan-315x305
Senior Structural Engineer in Twickenham

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
My granddad’s myth was inspiration to me! I’ve been in the industry for 12 years.

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
I am proud to be an engineer as my other male friends/colleagues are. Although this day does lead me to think why we need to remind everyone in this industry that women are also part of engineering but I give my best wishes to all women engineers

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
Sometimes faced with a judgemental attitude when you are 1 among 10 men in a technical discussion.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
No matter of what, ensuring self-confidence all the time, proving your engineering role and capability.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
Learn, observe, be determined and patient; your good days are not far away!


Lorna CraigLorna-e1478710939448-315x305

Graduate Building Services Engineer in Chester

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
I was better at maths and the sciences at school but didn’t want to study pure maths or science at university; a careers advisor recommended looking into finance or engineering. Only been in the industry for 6 months but already pleased that I made the decision to study building services engineering at university!

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
It is a chance to encourage more women into the industry and highlight how there is more women in engineering than ever before.

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
I haven’t encountered many difficult situations so far. However, it is sometimes a bit intimidating the way that people react when you tell them your chosen career.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
I did a couple of events at university to encourage women to choose an engineering degree.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
Women have the same right to have a career in engineering as men do

Lucia AlessandriniIMG_7338-315x305
Graduate Structural Engineer in Birmingham

How did you get into engineering and how long have you worked in the industry for?
Early on in my studies, during Highschool, I chose a classical address that covered humanistic subjects. Whilst I found it enjoyable, I also I felt the need to apply a theory to a real context. The more I thought about designs becoming reality, the more the field of Structural Engineering became attractive as a career path. It’s a nice feeling to see something you have worked to design finally become a finished structure. I’ve been working in the engineering industry for a couple of years and I enjoy the idea of being challenged by the variety of the projects that this sector offers every day.

What does National Women in Engineering Day mean for you?
I believe the National Women in Engineering Day is a good chance to inspire more women to join engineering and make people more sensible about the equality of gender in engineering.

What the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?
When I first started working in this industry, despite having a Master’s degree in structural engineering, I found it difficult to acquire an engineering position. I felt at times that I was treated as though I did not have a degree at all, with no path of development in sight. I believe that being a woman was part of the reason why I wasn’t seen for my achievements and drive to succeed as an engineer. I am now working as a Structural Engineer and enjoying the daily challenges.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?
For now, I’m doing my best to improve every day as an engineer, learning and facing different challenges every day with the aim of giving female engineers a good reputation and hoping to inspire others along the way.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?
I would say to her that all the effort and stress this job requires every day, will be paid back by satisfaction and merit. Don’t be afraid, the more difficult the path, the greater the reward!