Today is National Women in Engineering Day, and as someone with an engineering degree and now working in the built environment at BRE, today is about celebrating and supporting those in engineering and for highlighting and promoting the fantastic career opportunities available to boys and girls.
I enjoyed most subjects at school but in particular found science and maths exciting and challenging, and I certainly wasn’t alone in this at my all-girls school. However, very few even considered engineering as a possible higher education or career path. I was indeed an anomaly! I had always been fascinated by buildings and infrastructure, aesthetically and functionally, and so I took my chances, and admittedly a fairly uninformed decision, to embark on a civil engineering degree.
Turning up to lectures on my first day, I was bemused to find that those gender stereotypes associated with engineering were indeed true. I was expecting there to be enough like-minded females to result in more of a balance. I can’t give exact statistics, however I would say this approximately reflected recent data provided by the CIC diversity report, ‘A Blueprint for Change’ which found that just 14% of the construction workforce is female. These findings are also supported by the recent BRE Academy Skills Gap survey.
Here at BRE, the Women’s Network is committed to addressing these issues and driving positive change. As a member of the network and a STEM ambassador, there is a shared sense of duty to help break down those gender stereotypes and to spread the word to students about the opportunities, and in particular to girls who have even a slight affinity for maths and science, that engineering is a realistic and actually a very exciting option for all.
The aim of the BRE Women’s Network is to promote strength in diversity not only to those in education but also to professionals in the built environment, in engineering and other disciplines, by showcasing the achievements and opportunities available to women working in our sector. Our next initiative is a collaborative, cross-industry event ‘#BEinspired: Stories that Push Boundaries’ on 20th September at the IET, London aimed at inspiring, connecting and supporting professionals and university students in the industry. If you would like to find out more and book a place at this exciting event, please visit the BRE Events page. All are welcome!