IEEE campaign aims to drive uptake of female engineers
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has launched a month long campaign to inspire and encourage more women to choose a career in engineering.
The organisation believes the industry can no longer afford the significant gender gap that currently exists and that issues including work-life balance, lack of support for female students and cultural perceptions about the roles of women need to be addressed globally.
"Even as professions like law and medicine show great strides in achieving gender balance, the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers consistently lags behind their male peers," said Teresa Schofield, chair of UK and Republic of Ireland IEEE Women in Engineering group. "In China, women make up approximately 40% of the STEM workforce, while in the US women account for only 24%."
A recent study carried out by the UKRC also revealed that just 9% of engineering professionals in the UK are women, compared to 18% in Spain, 20% in Italy and 26% in Sweden.
Schofield believes that in order to address these figures, significant changes need to be made across the board in attitudes towards female engineers, encouragement during education, pay levels and the work culture of the industry.
She notes: "In developed countries like Japan, the US and Australia, traditional thinking about women's roles is still quite predominant and it deters women from studying engineering. We must overcome conservative opinions to encourage female students to attend engineering universities."
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