Female Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering say their careers in engineering have enabled them to use their curiosity about how things work in order to make a real difference in society. In a new series of profiles published to mark International Women’s Day 2016, 42 of the Academy’s women Fellows explain why they chose engineering as their profession and call on today’s school-leavers to follow their example, encouraging them to “just go for it”.

Asked what should be done to achieve gender parity in engineering – reflecting a key pledge of this year’s International Women’s Day – two thirds of the Fellows call for continued progress in breaking down existing stereotypes and creating a welcoming and inclusive culture in the engineering profession. Almost all mention the importance of a mentor or parent who was an engineer or scientist and provided encouragement when they were starting their careers.

They also highlight the importance of good teaching in schools and of sharing the interesting and exciting experiences they have enjoyed as professional engineers working around the world. The Academy’s Diversity in Engineering Programme has an active programme to promote culture change, which is supported across academia and industry.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our women Fellows, while at the same time demonstrating over and over again that engineering offers rewarding careers. Their stories illustrate the creativity, variety and breadth within engineering. We hope that this will inspire and encourage more people to choose engineering careers.”

Notes for editors

1.    International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated across the world on 8 March each year, having been observed since the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.

2.    Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

We have four strategic challenges:
- Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
- Address the engineering skills crisis
- Position engineering at the heart of society
- Lead the profession 

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0636

E:  Jane Sutton