Professor Wendy Hall has become the first female Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and plans to work with the Academy to attract more women to the discipline.

According to Professor Hall, Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton who was elected at the AGM of the Academy on Wednesday 6 July, there is a pressing need for more women engineers not only to achieve a more healthy gender balance in the industry but because society needs their input in design so that products can be used satisfactorily by both sexes.

Professor Hall, who has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering since 2000, will succeed Sir Duncan Michael and will hold the post for three years. As well as developing her own role as Senior Vice President she will deputise for Academy President Lord Broers when required.

She plans to develop initiatives to influence public perceptions of engineering and to build on the impetus created by Lord Broers’ Reith Lectures on The Triumph of Technology to communicate the significance of engineering to wider audiences. She also plans to encourage more interdisciplinary working across engineering and orchestrate campaigns to encourage more women into engineering.

She commented:

‘I am very proud to be an engineer and to have been appointed to this post which puts me in an excellent position to improve public perceptions of engineering so that more young men and women are encouraged to join the discipline.

‘Women, in particular, need to be represented in every aspect of industry; otherwise products get designed purely from the male perspective. This might not matter so much with the design of a bridge, but take, for example, a car. Volvo recently put an all female team together to see what difference their perspective made to the design of a car. We need to encourage more engineering companies to encourage the active involvement of women in all aspects of their business.’

Notes for editors

  1. Professor Wendy Hall
    Wendy Hall is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK. She was the founding Head of the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia (IAM) Research Group in the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton and is currently the Head of School. Her research interests include the development of web technologies (particularly the Semantic Web), open hypermedia systems and link services, advanced knowledge technologies, digital libraries, multimedia information management, agent-based systems and human computer interaction. More information about her research interests and work can be found by looking at her publications and past and current research projects at:
    users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/wh
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 20,000 students and over 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.

For more information please contact

Joyce Lewis, Communications Manager, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 5453
Jane Sutton, Royal Academy of Engineering