Each year on 23 June, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is celebrated around the world.
This year, ICE London graduates and students together with young members of other engineering institutions, formed SheCanEngineer.
The aim was to celebrate and raise the profile of women engineers and promote the engineering profession to young people. This was to be achieved through a series of events and a social media campaign.
Launched on 24 May, the SheCanEngineer campaign shared experiences of women engineers across disciplines.
Over 80 engineers to date have featured on the SheCanEngineer Instagram account with more stories to follow.
In the week leading up to IWED 2018, we hosted “STEM Challenge Day” a full day of activities for close to 100, year 10 to 12 students. Both boys and girls engaged with an interactive quiz delivered via Learn by Design, bespoke workshops and accepted the engineering challenge - to develop a plan for a renewable energy farm.
The scenario-based challenge saw students learn about wind energy and other renewables before being divided in teams to create their plan. The winning team was announced and given the prize!
Over lunch, both students and teachers attended a careers fair, providing them with an opportunity to ask questions to the different engineering institutions that were present at the event, including the ICE.
The STEM challenge day ended with inspiring engineers from different industries debating “What will be the greatest engineering challenge of the next 50 years?
The following day, the International Women in Engineering Day celebrations continued at IET’s Savoy Place headquarters, with industry professionals.
More than 300 young engineers attended the evening event to hear three very inspiring lectures. The evening started with an engaging panel discussion, sharing experiences of returning to work after a career break.
The panel was made of three successful women, mothers and engineers: Sue Kershaw FICE, Managing Director at KPMG; Rachel Skinner FICE, Head of Development at WSP; and Dawn Bonfield, Director of Towards Vision.
Each of them highlighted the importance of staying close to institutions while on a career break, and stressed that a career break is a chance to gain different skills, that can be used in the workplace.
Women not only need to be attracted in the industry, but they need to stay, and employers need to improve their capabilities to welcome women after maternity leave.
The second lecture was from Harish Bhayani, Senior Partner of inclusion on Unconscious Bias.
Harish Bhayani explained how everyone is involuntarily affected by unconscious bias, and he demonstrated it through very simple but effective case studies. He also gave the audience some very interesting examples of measures that can be put in place to overcome unconscious bias in the workplace.
To close the evening Katie Cresswell-Maynard, CEO of Engineers Without Borders, gave an exciting and encouraging lecture on inspiring future generations.
She highlighted the importance of using diversity to address the challenges of engineering. To overcome diversity issues, women and men need to work together as allies, as “different stories and different experiences will inspire different people.”
The shecanengineer social media campaign will continue to highlight more stories. If you wish to participate, please visit @shecanengineer
and submit your profile at firstname.lastname@example.org