Companies across the region are helping to highlight International Women’s Day this year.
National Women in Engineering Day was launched for the first time in the UK on 23 June 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Since that launch in 2014 the day has grown enormously over the subsequent years to the point where it received UNESCO patronage in 2016.
In 2017, National Women in Engineering Day became international for the first time due to the interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) was born to allow the celebration of women in engineering to become global. The global engineering technologies company Renishaw, based at Wotton under Edge, is hosting a number of activities this year to promote engineering as a positive career choice for women, including an activity day for young women and their parents, readings of the new ‘Little Miss Inventor’ book at local primary schools and a special cinema evening for the movie ‘Hidden Figures’.
Renishaw has over 130 trained STEM Ambassadors, a third of whom are women, including Jess Henson, a Development Engineer at the company’s Neurological Products Division.
Jess said: “Choosing what you want to study can be scary. The best way to narrow it down is to gain experience. To keep your options open I’d suggest choosing either science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects or a STEM apprenticeship
“Girls shouldn’t be put off by the stereotypes. There is a broad range of engineering careers out there from designers to customer facing roles. I’d recommend an apprenticeship or graduate placement at a company like Renishaw where you can experience a range of positions across different company divisions.
“People are often surprised when I tell them I am an engineer. After all, only nine per cent of engineers in the UK are female. If we want this to change we need more girls to study physics, engineering and maths and a greater awareness of the scope of engineering careers, which many may be surprised to discover stretches to brain surgery. We need to inform parents, teachers and young people what engineering really is and how they can apply what they are learning first hand.”
Find out more about International Women in Engineering Day at http://www.inwed.org.uk