National Women in Engineering Day is the brainchild of the Women’s Engineering Society.
Prospect welcomes the opportunity to work with employers and other organisations committed to addressing the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM).
Delegates at Prospect’s national conference in May identified some of the key challenges:
- How do we ensure that good flexible working policies are actually implemented, not just talked about?
- How do we persuade employers away from promotion and progression practices that clone the existing male hierarchy?
- How do we break away from entrenched perceptions that equality is a zero sum game?
Prospect is working with several organisations on events around WED to find the answers to these questions:
On 23 June, Sue Ferns, Prospect’s Director of Communications and Research, will speak at a lunchtime seminar in Parliament organised by Women in Nuclear UK and hosted by Baroness Verma. Other speakers will be Rebecca Holyhead and Miranda Kirschel, co-chairs of WiNUK; Kenna Kintrea from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; and Paul Spence of EDF Energy.
On 24 June we will be ‘Raising our sights for women in STEM’ at an action planning workshop at the National Physical Laboratory. Both Prospect and NPL are corporate members of Women in Science and Engineering. WISE Partnership Director Lynn Palmer will be contributing to the workshop along with Dr Nina Baker from Strathclyde University.
On 30 June Prospect will be at the Royal Aeronautical Society for a seminar on ‘Women in STEM: Are you in or out’. We have teamed up with WES, Women in Manufacturing and the Talent Retention Solution on a large-scale survey of the career paths of women qualified or experienced in STEM. Speakers at this event will include Meg Munn MP, Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf, Professor John Perkins and Fiona Jackson of EDF Energy.
Prospect would like to see government do more too, starting with a cross-departmental exercise to establish benchmark data on the skills, location, seniority and pay of all the scientists and engineers it employs.
This would provide the basis for genuine consultation on the priorities for action and a baseline from which to measure progress.
Rather than adopting a default, short-term approach of buying in specialist skills, government should develop capacity from within its existing workforce, not least to make the most of women’s talent.