Last month MPs and diversity champions from across the transport sector celebrated International Women in Engineering Day in Parliament.
Hosted by Ruth Cadbury MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport, the event marked the contributions of female engineers to transport and the importance of encouraging more women to consider engineering as a career. Women in Transport partnered with the Women’s Engineering (WES), founders of the International Women in Engineering Day campaign, to hold the event. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘raising the bar’.
Transport Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP welcomed the transport sector’s participation in the Year of the Engineering, a campaign to demonstrate the breadth and vibrancy of opportunities presented by a career in engineering.
Advancing women in transport is seen as crucial to improve the talent of the transport workforce, and to address the anticipated skills gap of more than 55,000 people needed to deliver and manage transport infrastructure by 2020. There is also a recognised demand for skilled people in areas such as civil and structural engineering and signalling, and the need to improve capability in emerging disciplines like cyber security, autonomous control systems and intelligent infrastructure. However, 2018 data from Engineering UK shows just 12 per cent of the engineering workforce are female.
The event was supported by TXM Recruit, Engie, and Hitachi Rail Europe who spoke of their efforts to encourage more women into transport and engineering. These include supporting STEM events in schools; apprenticeship programmes; and re-designing recruitment processes to make them more inclusive.
Nusrat Ghani, Minister for the Year of Engineering and transport skills, said:
“An important way of empowering women and tackling issues like the gender pay gap is encouraging more girls to consider well-paid, influential careers – like engineering. As we see rapid developments in new technology and major investment in infrastructure, it’s also vital that the transport industry and wider engineering profession is attracting a diverse workforce that truly represents the society we live in.
“The Year of Engineering is all about giving young people from different backgrounds direct experiences of the creative, innovative world of engineering. It’s through these experiences that we can encourage more young people, and in particular more girls, to consider a career that gives them the chance to shape the world around us.”
Ruth Cadbury, Chair of the APPG and Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth said: “We need to break down the barriers that are preventing more women from bringing their talents and experience to working in transport. The opportunities for more women with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills are enormous. We need to be doing all we can with the transport and engineering sectors to shift this gender imbalance.”
Katie Hulland, President of Women in Transport, said: “Today was an opportunity to celebrate our members from across the transport sector as role models who are making a real difference to the transport we use today and in the future. Through our events in Parliament, we will continue to both celebrate best practice in working with women and male allies to improve diversity and challenging the pace of how we ensure the transport sector is a more inclusive place to work for everyone”.
Sharon Duffy, Head of Transport Infrastructure Engineering at Transport for London said: “International Women in Engineering Day is a great catalyst to get the conversation going about why more women should be getting into the engineering and transport professions. They offer a unique opportunity to be creative while making a positive impact to people’s everyday lives. It’s amazing to know that when I am working on projects, such as cooling the Tube, I am making a difference and helping to improve our customers’ journeys.”