Call to celebrate inspirational female engineers on International Women’s Day

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
2018 winners Shajida Akthar, Sophie Harker and Lorna Bennet with host Rachel Riley (second from left)

To mark International Women’s Day, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has launched the call for entries for its 2019 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards (YWE).

The Awards celebrate women working in modern engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and dirty overalls.

As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Just 12% of those working in engineering occupations are women (source: Engineering UK).

Former winners include Dr Ozak Esu, technical lead at BRE, Dr Jenni Sidey, Canadian Space Agency astronaut, Orla Murphy, an audio engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, Naomi Mitchison, an electronics discipline manager at Thales Optronics and Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft engineer who worked on the European Space Agency ExoMars rover vehicle.

Sophie Harker, an aerodynamics & performance engineer for BAE Systems, won the 2018 IET YWE Award. In her role she performs aerodynamic and performance analyses on future combat jets, as well as exploring hypersonic flight concepts and the application of emerging technologies in aviation.

She said: “The IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards are all about celebrating the successes of female engineers across the UK and creating crucial role models out of women that are challenging the stereotypes of STEM for future generations to see and aspire to. Winning the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award has given me an enormous public platform that has enabled me to share my story with countless young people across the country, encouraging them to believe in themselves and inspiring them to consider careers in engineering.”

A new category for 2019, the Gender Diversity Ambassador Award will be presented to an individual who has spent a large proportion of their career committed to addressing the gender imbalance within their profession.

Jo Foster, IET diversity and inclusion manager, added: “We want to make it clear that engineering is a fantastic career for women. Outdated views and stereotypes are damaging to the industry, especially when there is a significant shortage of engineers, which poses a serious threat to the economy. It’s vital we champion engineering – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to do something life – or even – world changing.”

The deadline for entry to the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is 7 July 2019. For more information, visit: www.theiet.org/ywe.


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