IET launches Young Woman Engineer of the Year competition alongside new gender diversity statistics

Mar 21, 2024

The Young Women Engineer of the Year winners 2023

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has opened applications for its Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year Awards with new research that looks at gender diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. There are now over a million women working in STEM occupations, but that only makes up 29% of the overall STEM workforce.

In terms of reasons for the disparity, 45% of survey respondents said that women aren’t encouraged to consider STEM careers when at school, with 32% saying that they are put off by how male dominated the industry is perceived to be.

Nearly a quarter of UK adults think there needs to be more encouragement from when girls are young for them to pursue a career in STEM, and almost a third think men and women are equally encouraged into careers in STEM.

Concerningly, a third of people working in STEM think that not enough work has been done in reducing gender-based discrimination at work, and fewer than half (48%) think it is possible to achieve gender parity in STEM careers. Furthermore, only 8% of those surveyed could name a woman from the past or present who had made a significant contribution to STEM fields.

Increasing the representation and thereby visibility of women in STEM is an important factor in changing perceptions. This is particularly needed in engineering – where research from EngineeringUK identified that just 16.5% of those working in engineering occupations are women. The Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is one of the many initiatives looking to change this, by celebrating women working in modern engineering and identifying positive role models for women and girls.

IET Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Women into Science and Engineering (WISE) Managing Director, Dr Laura Norton said: “The number of women in STEM occupations has doubled to over a million in the past decade thanks to the hard work of organisations like the IET and initiatives such as the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards – but there is still a long way to go to reach gender parity.

“Our awards shine a spotlight on the incredible women up and down the country who are leading the change in breaking the stereotype and engineering a better world for us all. They provide real-life role models for younger generations to encourage greater diversity within the industry.

“We have a responsibility and opportunity to eliminate the damaging and misconceived stereotypes that currently threaten our industry. So, it’s vital that we champion engineering careers to the next generation and show them just how exciting, creative and life-changing working in this sector can be.”

Applications are now open until Friday, 28 June 2024.

Read more about the awards and submit your nomination on the IET website.

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