Insights on Women in Electronics’ launch in Europe with inaugural summit
In this article, oemsecrets.com bring you a conversation between Ruth Gray, Founding Chapter Council Member of Women in Electronics (WE) Europe and media partner oemsecrets.com’s Audrey Delga, Head of Marketing & Partnerships, as they chat about WE’s inaugural European summit and how popular search engine tool for electronic parts oemsecrets.com got involved in launching the organisation in Europe.
The event will be held at the McLaren Applied facility in Surrey on 20 April 2023.
Audrey: oemsecrets.com is delighted to be supporting Women in Electronics (WE) Europe as a media partner for your inaugural European summit in the UK. We are committed to spreading awareness of the amazing work you have accomplished in the US and expanding your reach into Europe. For context, the Women in Electronics initiative was first launched in the US by Jackie Mattox in 2017, with the fundamental principle of women working collectively to gain inspiration, support, and empowerment through a shared sense of community.
Audrey: Your first European Summit is only a few days away. First, can you talk us through WE’s mission statement?
Ruth: Women in Electronics is a united organisation of forward-thinking leaders that promotes diversity, inclusion, and drives change in the industry by bringing together men and women from all stages of their careers. Our primary goals are to empower women and diverse talent by facilitating virtual discussion groups and networking opportunities, and to develop women through various training programmes, both in person and online, that address work-life balance, leadership development, and other professional and personal growth opportunities. Additionally, the organisation advocates for women with career coaching and a comprehensive Mentorship Programme, while also celebrating their achievements and contributions to the industry.
Audrey: WE has always had the long-term goal of becoming a global organisation, can you tell us more about the organisation’s ambitions in Europe?
Ruth: The organisation has a powerful presence in the US, where it enjoys strong support from senior leaders at major distributors, manufacturers, and OEMs. Looking ahead, I believe that Women in Electronics has an important role to play in Europe, and I wish that I had had access to it earlier in my career. Our organisation provides volunteering opportunities to industry professionals throughout Europe, offering individuals at any stage of their career a chance to give back and support our mission. As WE continues to expand, our aim is to establish chapters in various countries to address the unique cultural needs of each region. So, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and support Women in Electronics!
Audrey: Your first European Summit and Leadership Conference, Level Up, will be taking place on 20 April 2023 in Woking, Surrey. Can you tell us more about that?
Ruth: This will be our first large-scale leadership conference, following a highly successful networking event at Electronica towards the end of last year. It will be hosted at the impressive McLaren Applied facility, bringing together women and men from all sectors of the industry. Attendees will include professionals from manufacturers, OEMs, distributors, and diverse roles such as sustainability, engineering, and procurement. This conference presents an excellent networking opportunity and it's a great chance for attendees to learn about what we do, with outstanding leadership and development trainers, in addition to influential breakout sessions and a panel discussion with industry leaders. This event is sure to be a remarkable experience.
Audrey: It is well reported that women are underrepresented in the electronics industry. According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), the percentage of women working in engineering roles has been increasing over the last decade, albeit slowly. As of 2021 women still remained in the minority, comprising only 16.5% of those working in engineering roles, a 6% increase from 2010.
Audrey: What can be done to attract more girls and women to the industry?
Ruth: It’s encouraging to see that there has been some cultural and systemic change in the industry, but it’s worth noting that gender balance is changing at a slower pace at managerial, directorial, and senior levels compared to technical and associate positions. So, there's still a long way to go to achieve true gender parity throughout women’s careers. Our Mentorship Programme is a great initiative to support women in the industry and to help them navigate their careers. We all need mentors and role models because they provide examples of what is possible and what can be achieved, and this starts at a really young age, for example by attracting girls and women into STEM ambassador roles at school. We want to reach down as far as we can into early development.
Audrey: One of your main goals is also to encourage more individuals working in the electronics industry to join the WE organisation, and not only women but also men. We would love to know how you plan to attract this audience.
Ruth: We strongly believe that Women in Electronics is all about uniting men and women. Men are just as enthusiastic about driving change, and for the industry's mindset to change, male leaders must play a significant role. WE provide various opportunities for both individuals and companies to get involved. Those who want to join can become a member by contacting me directly through LinkedIn or by visiting our website. Memberships give access to previous training and development resources, as well as immediate entry to chapter networking events. For companies, sponsorship is available, and our value proposition means we can help increasing diversity, retaining talent, and supporting diversity at a corporate level.
Audrey: In researching Women in Electronics, we see the organisation making reference to “WE United”. Please tell us about that.
Ruth: In efforts to honour inclusion of men and women across all technology-related markets and industries globally, the WE organisation is promoting the concept of “WE United”, which is the driving factor behind the Women in Electronics goals to foster empowerment, advocacy, development, and celebration of inclusive leadership, while cultivating an environment that embraces patience and grace in the pursuit of progress. WE United embodies women supporting and uplifting other women, men and women thriving in unity, and collaboration across technology related markets and industries to work towards common goals. Our Summit on the 20th of April will be the demonstration of WE United, with organisations across a few segments and industries aligning for one united purpose.
Audrey: Is there still time to register for your first European Summit conference?
Ruth: Absolutely, registration is still live, this will be an impactful event with both men and women coming together to learn from keynote sessions, industry expert panels, and participate in leadership workshops to address all-industry topics intentionally curated for the European community.