Series 8 – Episode 3 – Inspiring women in engineering
Paige West talks with Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer at the Women’s Engineering Society (or the WES for short) about inspiring future generations and the role WES plays in encouraging young women and girls to take up engineering careers.
The Women's Engineering Society has a vision of an engineering industry that employs the diversity of the society it serves, to solve the biggest societal issues of our time; and whose mission is to support women in engineering to fulfil their potential and support the engineering industry to be inclusive.
New research from EngineeringUK has shown that only 16.5% of those working in engineering are female and Elizabeth thinks this is due to a number of factors, one being that we don’t see engineering on the television. “We [also] don’t teach engineering as a subject in school, we used to teach Design and Technology as part of the national curriculum but, in the last 10 years, even that has stopped.”
Celebrating its 9th year in 2022, International Women in Engineering Day took place on 23rd June and Elizabeth explains the role it plays in encouraging young women and girls to take up engineering careers. She said: “It’s all about raising awareness of women engineers across the world and encouraging engineering companies and other to embrace women as part of the engineering workforce.”
The Top 50 Women in Engineering Awards is an event linked to International Women in Engineering Day and founded by the WES in 2016. Elizabeth explains that it’s main aim is to really find and showcase the top female inventors and innovators. “It’s about showcasing these fantastic women who have made great achievements.”
Elizabeth goes on to talk about the particular parts of the Women’s Engineering Society she is proud of, what role models can do to inspire future generations and the advice she has for young girls looking to enter the industry.