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Women still under-represented in engineering

Women are massively under-represented in engineering – currently representing only 8.7% of the workforce (1 in 10), the lowest in the European Union. 

Forty-three per cent of female engineers of a recent internal survey at WSP, the consultancy behind the Shard, were graduate rank and below, suggesting the number of women entering the industry is increasing.

WSP’s survey of female engineers also found:

  • 49% think that educating teachers and careers advisers about engineering will attract young girls into an engineering career
  • 64% had engineering and science mentioned as a career choice at school
  • 60% said there were no barriers to women entering the profession
  • 65 % say their gender does not limit their career progression
  • 30 % said there are fewer female engineers than males because they do not have the right qualifications

Claire Gott, a structural engineer currently working on the redevelopment of London Bridge Station said: “I strongly believe that it is our responsibility, as practicing engineers, to engage with the younger generation and equip them with the skills to successfully meet the challenges of tomorrow and secure the future of UK engineering. I was inspired to go into engineering after being part of a pupil group on a school trip to Tanzania, helping to rebuild an orphanage. Seeing how practical hands-on skills could be applied to have such a positive impact on a community sparked my passion for engineering.”

Najwa Jawahar, a graduate structural engineer working on skyscrapers, joined WSP after obtaining her first-class degree in engineering from Leeds University. She chairs the Young Engineers Network at WSP, which she set up to help the personal development of young engineers.

Ms Jawahar commented: “I believe an engineer holds the power to transform the future by providing solutions to problems which directly impact social, environmental and economic aspects of our everyday lives. This combined with the dynamic nature of the construction industry, where no two days the same, makes structural engineering the most rewarding career for me.”

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