The Academy has gained a SET Fair Standard award for its efforts in promoting gender equality best practice both in-house and to the wider engineering community.

The Academy has demonstrated its capacity to promote gender equality by illustrating best practice such as the London Engineering Project and the work of the Proactive Membership Committee and Diversity Working Group to scoop the SET Fair Standard accolade.

It embarked on the assessment against the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology (UKRC) SET Fair gender equality standard towards the end of 2011 and has been declared ‘achieving.’

The UKRC said: “The Academy’s leaders have an obvious drive to improve the diversity of the engineering profession. In particular, the Academy has taken a proactive approach to nominating potential Fellows, which has resulted in a higher proportion of women being elected into the fellowship, and has a strong record of promoting gender across the engineering community.”

The report found:

  • 94% of Fellows agreed that the leadership of the Academy is committed to improving gender equality and 98% said they understand the Academy’s reasons for engaging with gender equality
  • Female representation among the Fellowship has risen from 1.8% in 2007 to 3.4% in 2011 and there has been a year on year rise in female Fellows elected since 2008. This is particularly encouraging given that women make up 9% of engineering professional and 4.2% of Chartered Engineers.
  • A high proportion of the Fellows who responded to the UKRC survey were confident that access to important Fellowship roles and awards are transparent and fair
  • 81% of staff and 88% of managers agreed that the Academy makes clear its policies in relation to gender equality

(Figures above are % of respondents, not % of total population)

The Academy recognises it has more to do to embed diversity across all its activities and is putting effort into redressing the gender balance in-house and across the engineering profession.

“Our performance against the Standard tells us we’re on the right track, but we must capitalise on where we are now by developing a more inclusive culture and ethos.” said Philip Greenish CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Academy is currently delivering a Diversity in Engineering programme led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall FREng FRS, funded by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). The programme aims to increase diversity across the profession by identifying and tackling persistent barriers to underrepresentation and by setting objectives and indicators to measure progress.

Its focus (and that of the Academy) goes beyond gender and examines ethnicity, age, disability, socio-economic background– with a watching brief on other aspects of diversity. The Royal Society has also been funded to conduct a parallel programme focusing on the sciences, and the two organisations are working closely together.

Notes for editors

  1. 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.
  2. The UKRC's SET Fair Standard is the gender equality award for businesses and organisations in science, engineering and technology (SET), including the built environment and IT. Launched in 2009, it is the UK's first high profile award that gives public recognition for excellence in gender equality in SET sectors. The SET Fair Standard is independently assessed and moderated by experts in gender equality and SET sectors. The framework has three levels: Committed, Achieving and Outstanding.

For more information please contact

Bola Fatimilehin or Jenny Young at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0600; email: Diversity