Women in Engineering – A Discussion – Hosted by Swansea University
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Women in Engineering – A Discussion – Hosted by Swansea University

I fell into engineering as I think many people do. I love it.
Couldn’t think of a better job and I’ve stuck it for over 20 years now. The main thing that inspired me to do engineering is I wanted to do something with my love for maths and sciences But also not be stuck in an office everyday. Having been through the experience of different industries, I feel that I’ve got a lot to bring to the next generation if you like, coming through to give an idea of what it’s like and to nurture them. In that sense, this is why the Women in Engineering events are useful so that you can get strengths from other people. Do you think it’s the fear of a failing or just the fear of being the only female that stops women from applying or going into engineering? I don’t think I had any fear because I didn’t know what the proportions would be. At one point, there were 44 chaps and me working in that role and I think had I known that, that might well have been a hurdle and thought actually that is quite a ratio. But they stop thinking about you as a girl very quickly. You’re a working person doing a good job,
putting your ideas forward and they treat you like that. And I think perhaps that’s what we need push. Is that it’s not a “male-female” thing.
It’s are you good at the job or are you not. I had a lot of questions or a lot worries about being either the only female in the office or just being a minority. But actually having gone into work and actually done work, I’ve realised, that it is an impact. But actually it doesn’t take much
of my day-to-day thinking, while doing my own job. I feel that people’s approach to women in engineering certainly has improved. I’ve been in the
industry for 20 years now and once upon a time, I was an outsider, an alien, regardless of being a bit odd. Now, people are looking up to me and thinking I can do that. What needs to happen
in order for the change to speed up. An appreciation by everybody of the importance of diversity of the industry reflecting real life. What is it we’ve got to offer that currently perhaps is excluded from? I mean I would just take the stance that it’s roughly 50% of the population so you’re missing out on 50% of all that talent and all that skill. And the best team will be a combination of different factors but also quite diverse. There’s so much evidence out there to prove that diverse work forces are so much more productive. There’s nothing that women can’t do.
It’s expanding. And it’s just great opportunities for women. Like this is what a man’s job is
and this what a woman’s job is. I feel like that needs to change. You can be a supermodel and still be an engineer if you want to. You don’t have to like, have a hard hat on and wear a coat all the time. You don’t have to be butch. I think perhaps that scares girls off, because in their minds, perhaps engineering is oily, high-vis, grubby fingernails. And in fact you can have beautiful nails like yours and still be an engineer. So perhaps that’s a perception that does need to be firmly put in its place, that it’s not a greasy— I mean some of it is
and if that’s what you like there’s no harm but not every single engineer is wielding a wrench. I just don’t like the idea of us mentioning, you know, women in engineering or men in engineering. We just mention engineers in total
so women are engineers and that’s it—period. I would love to inspire young girls
young women even returners people have been in a different industry and want to
come back in make the most of any female contacts you’ve got a seek out somebody
who you admire and is approachable and who use their knowledge yeah the wider
the perspective that you can gain the the better the more opportunities you
hear about and the more you kind of can work out where your career progression
to go find your niche find exactly what it is that you
you are good at what you shine at and you will fight into your place being
into local schools and a lot of kids don’t even really seem to know what
engineering is or they wouldn’t a lot the girls in the class haven’t even
considered doing a technical subject I feel like he needs to start earlier and
earlier then because I find when I was going through school and always by the
time people say coming in strength encourage people to come in to stand
it’s always when we’re doing GCSE or a level and at that point majority of
people have already had an idea of what they want to go into I take quite a lot
responsibility I’m going into local schools doing a lot of outreach work and
showing just the presence of a female engineer out there I think says a lot to
quite young children I think the challenges that I’ve faced in this role
are sometimes people’s opinions of women can be problematic you just have to
prove you good at the job you as good as them and sometimes even better
whenever I’ve experienced like a toxic workplace kind of culture it’s not the
majority of people in the office it’s usually just one one or two people and
they act in a way it’s in front of everyone everyone sees it and what
creates the real horrible aspect of it is up people who are my friends like
guys were my friends and they see this and it’s kind of like you see the abuse
happening alright but they don’t you know if there’s a misogynist man there
he’s going to listen to you far quicker than he’s ever gonna listen to me and/or
support me when I call them I do don’t I mean and that’s that’s what I think men
could do to change the individual you have to change the culture to change the
culture you have to check to change the individual and I don’t think that
they’re the individuals that you’re going to be changing but the culture
will change around them I think boys and men can change people’s opinions and
their own attitudes among their peer groups so at the moment a man might
stand back not say something if they see a woman being treated badly I think we
everyone needs to step up boys girls women men all of them and say we can do
it more worth it men and boys in the industry can help increase the number of
females in the industry by understanding what what the issues are what other
traits that keep living back what other traits that actually mean that women do
not progress further than mid middle point of their career women in
engineering just make sense and engineering is a woman’s job not
just a man’s job is just everyone’s job

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