Women still face "outdated attitudes" entering engineering

"If you are in a room with ten engineers, the likelihood is just one will be female"

Women still face "outdated attitudes" entering engineering

Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

New research from Engineers Ireland warns that females still face "outdated attitudes" when entering the engineering sector.

Caroline Spillane is the Director General of Engineers Ireland and the first female to hold the role - she says that today's findings highlight problems in the industry:

"The statistics in Ireland are stark: if you are in a room with ten engineers, the likelihood is just one will be female," she said.

More than 86% of engineers believe parents and school teachers can do more to break down societal barriers and to encourage girls to study subjects which support careers in engineering.

The survey also found that more than half believe that outdated attitudes, among both women and men, still serve as obstacles to women entering the sector.

The findings were revealed by Engineers Ireland at an NUI Galway event, as part of Engineers Week 2017, to mark the official naming of the Alice Perry Engineering Building which celebrates the first woman in Ireland and the UK to earn a degree in engineering.

Alice Perry

"Women largely remain an untapped resource in the engineering profession and our survey of our members highlights the view within the sector that more can be done by all of us, parents, teachers and society generally, to break down the barriers to girls entering the industry," Ms Spillane added.

She believes that failure to take action to change this culture will have a negative impact on Ireland's ability to attract FDI in areas like tech and pharma.

Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said: "We are delighted to collaborate with Engineers Ireland on this important event during Engineers Week.

"We are enormously proud of Alice Perry and what her life’s work symbolises. Decisions on career paths are shaped by the world around us.  Having a visible tribute to the achievements of trailblazers like Alice Perry on campus can serve to both recognise an individual legacy and also to inspire the next generation when they make their own career decisions."

Engineers Week is an annual campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers and excite students about the possibilities a career in engineering can offer running until March 10.

3,000 of Engineers Ireland's members were surveyed during this research.