How is Engineering Creating a New Age of Gender Balance?

By Maria Temple By Maria Temple

I've long been an advocate of diversity and gender balance in the industrial sector.

At this moment, only 12% of the UK’s engineers are female - that’s the lowest amount in Europe. It’s no wonder why gender-balance is a top priority for the UK’s leading companies in 2020.

Sadly, the outlook globally isn’t much better at just 13%. That’s despite a recent survey saying that 84% of female engineers were happy with their career choice.

Digging a little deeper, I spoke with Michele Robert, an industry thought-leader and CEO of Stericycle in Brazil. Michele told me that that creating environments where strong female voices could be heard is crucial. That’s not surprising with the gender balance swaying so loudly to one side.

Michele also spoke about life balance issues:

"I hate to call it a work/life balance. Women are doing a life balance.

"Too many women want to be superwomen, but you’ve got to be okay to say – today I am one hundred percent switched on at work because what we’re working on is important.

"That means that you have to lean on some support at home."

That’s not to say men aren’t trying to achieve this balance too, but feelings of guilt for not being at home are much more common among women.

Now I'm beginning to see more companies address this issue, thanks to pressure from the media and the increasing emergence of female thought leaders in the industry, like Michele.

You have to give credit to forward-thinking pioneers like Dale Power too, who’ve been recognised with countless awards for their continued efforts to achieve diversity and help get women into engineering.

With a diverse team meaning more engaged, productive and creative employees – I hope it won’t be too long until other companies join the party and reap the rewards of a gender balanced workforce.

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