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What it means to be an ‘International Woman in Engineering’ today

Last weekend was International Women in Engineering Day, so we tasked some of our talented female engineers across our 4 studios to come up with a word, or a few words, that would sum up what it is to be an ‘international woman in engineering’ in 2018. The single words ‘empowering’, ‘respect’, ‘pride’ and ‘confidence’ were all used in their replies. Descriptions of ‘opportunity’, ‘strength’ and ‘rewarding’ are explained in some personal reflections below;

Opportunity – Engineering is a great career for women: there are so many opportunities to influence the world for the better, and it’s great to combine technical and communication skills in the same job.

I have generally found being a female engineer to be a very positive experience. It still (pleasantly) surprises people when I explain what I do. I have found things less equal since I became a mother of three and started comparing my career progress with my male peers, including that of my husband, who is also a civil engineer. Granted, some of this is down to my (our family) choices, but there is a general pattern – women’s careers slow down, while men’s careers soar. The result is fewer women in senior management.

Across the industry there is still some way to go until we achieve equality. Firstly, we need to get more women into engineering and see more women in senior positions. Our work in schools as STEM ambassadors helps girls see that engineering is an exciting choice and we are supporting and encouraging women at all levels at Civic Engineers. Secondly, in such a male-dominated industry we have to tackle the culture whereby it’s women who primarily combine caring duties with work. Men in engineering (and in society) need to share family responsibilities to enable women engineers to flourish!  Leah Stuart, Associate Director

Strength – I am a strong working mum and give my job 110% at all times and fight against the gender divide in this industry by showing strength and confidence in meetings.  I have seen that from most of my female colleagues, particularly in Civic Engineers. Annie Watson, Senior Engineer

Rewarding – I think in the engineering world today it can get a bit overwhelming as a woman being part of design teams where the team members are predominantly men. I believe as women, we have to work even harder and be even more passionate about our profession so that our judgement and opinions are given more consideration. All of this can become quite rewarding once our suggestions are brought to life. Daniela Zaman, Design Engineer

These words and brief reflections from our female engineers show that whilst there is real hope, evidence and confidence that the industry is moving forward and gender diversity is improving, there is still a long way to go. We’re working hard to do what we can to encourage women to become engineers, to remain in the profession and to provide an inspirational , helpful environment that offers flexibility, career development and creative solutions to juggling motherhood with a rewarding career. A more diverse team is the only way we will deliver excellent solutions for our clients, collaborators and partners.

 

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