On 23rd June 2019, we are celebrating the outstanding achievements of women engineers across the world as the sixth International Women In Engineering Day takes place. This year the theme is all about transforming the future so we’ve asked some of our engineers what they think the future holds for engineering and how we can get more girls into this exciting industry.
I get to create and be innovative. I can join a passion with work, and it feels like I’m doing something meaningful.
I think that we need more role models. There are so many strong women in tech that we can look up to from Ada Lovelace and Margaret Hamilton, to more modern examples like Parisa Tabriz, Radia Perlman, Allison Randal or Lyndsey Scott – yes, a Victoria’s Secret model that is also a programmer! I think the best motivation is seeing successful women in tech that we can strive to become one day.
I hope it becomes an environment that everyone can thrive in. Curiosity, courage and innovation are at the heart of engineering. I hope that, in the future, children’s education will change and kids will be introduced to creating games and robots much earlier on. I wish I could have Lego Mindstorms or Kano PC when I was growing up!
Having to solve hard problems that you don’t know the answer to. It’s daunting at first but it’s hugely satisfying when your solution works. You may soon learn that it wasn’t quite as simple as you thought, but the learning experience of having your understanding of the problem evolve is rewarding.
It’s just smart to aim for a diverse engineering team. If you find yourself trying to make an important decision with a group of people similar to yourself – it’s not uncommon to find that you all agree. A group of engineers all agreeing is generally something to be concerned about. We need different people to bring different ideas, and the only way to make great decisions is to have a broad range of input. We have the best outcomes when we disagree and debate.
The best bit for me is being able to help build the tools of tomorrow that make a positive impact in the lives of others.
I think, as female engineers, we can be more vocal about our experiences. We need to show that there is an active community of women in engineering roles and that a lot of the obstacles we think would arise from working in a traditionally male-dominated environment are imagined. It’s also important to know that there will be plenty of support.
I would love to see the tech engineering scene become even more diverse in all regards – maybe one day eroding even the existence of any cultural stereotype.
The problems we are solving are diverse, so to build the best product and have the greatest impact, we need to have an engineering team that reflects that diversity. Otherwise you don’t have the right ideas, opinions and empathy at the table and your product will suffer as a result.
I hope that engineering teams of the future will also be diverse in seniority levels. Diversity needs to be reflected in junior hires all the way through to executives. That’s when teams, and products, will truly benefit from having all voices represented.
A lot of engineering is about being creative and solving real problems that impact people’s lives – and even saving lives! From working on the systems that land people on space stations to writing the algorithms behind the software that is transforming our daily lives, engineers are working collaboratively and making a huge difference to what the future of the world will look like.
I think a lot of the stereotypes about engineering don’t reflect the reality of what a vibrant, exciting, and impactful careers engineering can lead to. That needs to change.
We also need to set positive examples for the next generation. As part of my work with WISE, I’ve been helping with a Harper Collins collaboration on the Tara Binns book series – including Tara Binns: Big Idea Engineer – to show Key Stage 2 girls that careers like engineering are for people like them.
Diversity is important in engineering, as in life. Both talent and innovation are not owned by one gender, and being able to share ideas with women as well as people from different cultures allows me and my team to develop our professional and personal skills. Some of best products and concepts are created by a team built on diversity.
In the future, I hope we that won’t have to ask that question again simply because diversity in engineering wouldn’t be questioned. Diversity would have become the “norm.”